Sanei in India

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Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Sanei
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 1,300
World Population: 1,300
Primary Language: Odia
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Dalit - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Sanei are a small community that claims a very low caste status. There are no anthropological books or articles about them that would explain their past. They eat all meats except pork and beef, which indicates low status.

Where Are they Located?

The Hindu Sanei people live in Odisha, a state in eastern India.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Each Sanei gotra (clan) is represented by a totemistic animal. Within each clan there are more subdivisions that indicate their lineage and regulate who can marry who. For example, they do not allow their people to marry someone from a different caste. At one time they allowed for child marriage but now they don't marry until they are young adults. Most marriages are arranged by family head-determined negotiations, but some marriages come from the young man and woman deciding to marry without consent. There used to be a large bride price, but now this is reduced to a small, token amount paid between families.

When a Sanei girl has her first period, she is secluded for a week. Then she applies turmeric paste to her body, takes a bath, and puts on a new sari. Then she goes to a Shiva temple to make an offering.

Economically, many of the Sanei people own a small amount of land. Those who don't are landless laborers or have small, petty businesses. Their women contribute greatly to the family income, often by working as maids or by doing farm work for others.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Sanei people practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. They worship various Hindu gods at the family, community, and regional level. They look to a particular guru, or guide for their spiritual direction.

What Are Their Needs?

The Sanei people are looking to various spiritual entities that will only get in the way of their need for the abundant life that only Jesus Christ can offer. They need to become devotees of Jesus Christ, and Him only.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Sanei 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 Sanei family and community leaders to seek His face and enjoy His blessings.
Pray for the Lord to thrust out workers who will be compelled to nurture a disciple-making movement among the Sanei people.
Pray that soon the Sanei people will have faith that will lead them to live honorable lives that will draw others to the Savior.

Text Source:   Keith Carey