Punjabi in Thailand

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People Name: Punjabi
Country: Thailand
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 63,000
World Population: 2,094,600
Primary Language: Punjabi, Eastern
Primary Religion: Other / Small
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Muslim - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The name "Punjabi" is used to describe both those who speak Punjabi and those who inhabit the Punjab region in India and Pakistan. Punjabi is an Indo-European language that is divided into six main dialects. Those in Thailand speak the Eastern Punjabi dialect.

The first Sikhs to arrive in Thailand did so in the 1880s. By 1911 there was an emerging Sikh community in Thailand. The next year they took steps to establish their first gurdwara, the Sikh place of worship.

Modern Punjabi culture was largely shaped by the partitioning of India and Pakistan in 1947. This event resulted in massive migrations that separated the Muslims from the Hindus and Sikhs. In general, the Muslim Punjabis live in Pakistan, while the Hindu or Sikhs are in India. One can also find Punjabi communities in nearly thirty other countries including Thailand. Sikhs now live in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Khon Kaen, Lampang, Korat, and Phuket.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Today there are at least 20 gurdwaras in Thailand. Ironically, the Sikhs in Thailand often take on Thai names to blend in with the local people. Wherever they have gone, the resourceful Punjabis have made a place for themselves within the local communities. In Thailand, as in most countries where they have settled, Punjabi are employed in many different occupations. They excel as mechanics and work in construction. Others own businesses, large and small.

While the living conditions of the Punjabis differ greatly from country to country, they have retained much of their traditional culture and language. Though the language is still Punjabi, there are cultural differences between each of the three religious communities.

Among the diaspora Punjabis, newly married couples set up their homes wherever they choose. Parents arrange the marriages after extensive discussions.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Most Punjabis in Thailand are Sikhs. Sikhism is a monotheistic religion that was founded in northern India during the sixteenth century. Its teachings have combined the elements of both Hinduism and Islam in an attempt to find one god who transcends all religious distinctions.

What Are Their Needs?

Though there is freedom of religion in Thailand and almost all Christian materials have been translated into Eastern Punjabi, we know of no Sikh background believers in Thailand. They need Holy Spirit driven workers to lovingly take Christ to the Sikh community.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Punjabi people in Thailand to have hearts that are open to the abundant blessings of Jesus Christ.

Pray for their families to prosper financially and spiritually as they experience a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Pray for a movement to Christ among the Punjabi people in Thailand that will spread joy, peace, and salvation.

Pray for the Punjabi culture to be renewed and enhanced by a work of the Holy Spirit and shaped into a God-centered and God-honoring mold.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to move among Punjabi family and community leaders to seek his face and enjoy his blessings.

Text Source:   Joshua Project