Photo Source: Sonam Prajapati - Pixabay
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|Christian Adherents:||4.00 %|
|Online Audio NT:||No|
|People Cluster:||South Asia - other|
|Affinity Bloc:||South Asian Peoples|
Hindi is the fourth most spoken language in the world after Mandarin Chinese, English and Spanish. If one considers the fact that Urdu and Hindi are mutually intelligible, it is the third. Hindi is one of the two official government languages of India along with English. Hindi is spoken by more than half of billion people. It is the primary language across what is known as the Hindi Belt from west to east central India. Many Hindi speakers left India during the period of the British Empire. In the second half of the 20th century, some Hindi speakers have migrated to the Southeast nation of Thailand.
Hindi communities in Thailand continue with their traditional Indian customs, language, and religions. Hindi Indians live in both rural areas and urban centers. Many have successfully ventured into all walks of Thai life. Some Hindis are professionals, but the majority are businesspersons owning shops, restaurants and small companies. Hindis often speak three to four languages, cook a variety of curries, wear vibrantly colored materials, and have a lively culture. The Hinduism of the Hindis is compatible with the Buddhism of the Thai people. Buddhism is sometimes viewed as an of shoot of Hinduism. The father is the head of the Hindi family. He shares leadership with his wife over the children. A woman has a higher place in the Hindi home than in most Asian cultures. Parents encourage their sons and daughters to excel in education and obtain college degrees. Hindis in Thailand try to maintain their ethnic identity and at the same time become model Thai citizens. In traditional Hindi culture, the parents chose the spouse of their children. This practice has changed in modern society where young children frequently choose their partner with their parents’ guidance. In India a Hindi man may have more than one wife if he can afford them. In Thailand monogamy or marriage to one spouse is the official law but a man may have one of more consorts who function as wives. Parents strongly encourage their children to marry within the Hindi culture and Hindu faith.
The large majority of the Hindi speakers in Thailand practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works that they will attain moksha or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The Hindis visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hope of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods like Christians do with their heavenly Father. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. The main yearly holidays of the Hindi people are Holi, the festival of colors and the start of spring, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn and Rama Navami, Rama’s birthday. Many Hindi in Thailand also celebrate Buddhist holidays. A tiny fraction of the Hindi people is evangelical Christians.
The Hindu Hindis must come to understand that Jesus Christ is not just another Hindu god or guru. He is the unique Son of the one, true God who alone can forgive their sins. The Hindis of Thailand need to see the love of Jesus demonstrated to them in practical ways.
Pray that the Lord raises up a Disciple Making Movement among the Thai Hindis this decade. Pray the Lord moves Thai believers and churches to reach out and share the good news with the Hindi people. Pray that more Christian literature, radio broadcasts, and videos become available in the Hindi language. Ask God to bring Hindi leaders and heads of families into His kingdom.