Pashayi in Afghanistan

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People Name: Pashayi
Country: Afghanistan
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 51,000
World Population: 77,000
Primary Language: Kohistani, Indus
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: No
People Cluster: South Asia Muslim - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Pashayi, one of the most ancient peoples in Afghanistan, have been animists, Buddhists and Hindus before they became Muslim. Pashayi refers to their language. There are two theories regarding the origins of the Pashayi people. One is they were members of the Gandhara culture that goes back to 1400 BCE and they were pushed out of their original homeland by a Pashtu speaking people. The other theory, based on ethnographic evidence, suggests that they share a common root culture with the other mountain peoples of this region that predates the Gandhara culture.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Pashayi economy is based on a blend of agriculture and livestock herding. Those in the lower levels are most likely to be rice, wheat and maize farmers. They also grow poppies, walnuts and mulberries. Those in the higher elevation primarily raise goats but also sheep and cattle. Men do most of the herding activities.
They have their hierarchy depending on occupation. The highest group are the property owners. Beneath them are the artisans, and at the bottom are the landless tenants. This is like a caste system, but not as rigid.
Village councils make decisions that affect their agricultural lives like who gets irrigated water. When it comes to individual rights, each person has to guard their own rights and avenge wrongs committed against them. For this reason, feuds are very common. Men are expected to be skilled fighters who will defend themselves whenever needed. For that reason, they carry knives at all times and sometimes firearms. Those who are considered "without honor" are ridiculed and belittled through songs, snide remarks and even by people pouring ashes on their heads.
Pashayi women have more freedom and they are not secluded like they are with other nearby cultures. Women can even interact freely with men in some cases.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Pashayi people are Sunni Muslims, yet they depend on amulets and charms.

What Are Their Needs?

The Pashayi people need good sources of water and better medical and educational facilities.

Prayer Points

Pray for God to bless the Pashayi abundantly through adequate water, a good harvest, and by meeting their physical and spiritual needs as a testimony of his sovereignty.
Pray for Christ's ambassadors to have the chance to interact with Pashayi leaders, opening the way for the gospel to bless this Muslim people group.
Pray for a movement to Christ among the Pashayi people that will never die.

Text Source:   Joshua Project