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|People Name:||South Asian, general|
|Christian Adherents:||3.00 %|
|Online Audio NT:||No|
|People Cluster:||South Asia - other|
|Affinity Bloc:||South Asian Peoples|
There has been a South Asian diaspora in various parts of the world including Russia. Most of these are Punjabi speaking Sikhs, or Hindus who speak a variety of languages: Tamil, Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, etc. Muslims usually speak either Urdu or Bengali. There are some segments of the South Asian diaspora that don’t fit into any neat language category. Those we simply call, “South Asians” or “Indo-Pakistanis” since we are referring to people from either India or Pakistan. Sometimes Bangladeshis and Nepalis are lumped in as well since those countries are also in South Asia. The South Asians came from all over the Subcontinent, mainly during the days of the USSR. They were often medical students. Most of them returned to India, especially because of the rise of Russian nationalism against foreigners. Others braved the Russian cold and remained behind.
The South Asians in Russia tend to be either older people who settled there during the days of the USSR, or younger people who are university students. Though there are special events for South Asians based on their language, they commonly come together as a group, even those who are “generic” South Asians. These gatherings might be cultural or religious. Hinduism is an important part of their culture, and it gives South Asians an identity. South Asians in diaspora often accept one another regardless of religious affiliation. They are not likely, however, to marry across religious or caste lines.
Hindus are polytheistic, which means that they worship many gods and goddesses. The most important gods worshipped are Brahman, the creator of the universe; Vishnu, its preserver; and Shiva, its destroyer. Another important Hindu deity is Shiva's wife, who has several names. She is best known as Durga, Kali, Parvati, or Uma. As Parvati or Uma, she is the beloved goddess of motherhood. As Durga or Kali, she is the feared goddess of destruction. Hindus in business are fond of Ganesh, the god whom they believe helps them overcome obstacles. According to Hindu doctrine, animals as well as humans have souls. Hindus believe that souls live innumerable lives in different bodies, being born again, or reincarnated, after death as animals or humans. They believe that if a person lives a good life, his soul will be born into a higher state. Whereas, if he leads an evil life, his soul will be born into a lower state. The cycle supposedly continues until the soul achieves spiritual perfection and enters a higher state of existence. Most Hindus in diaspora use their religion as a way to preserve their culture in a foreign environment. They also look to their gods to help them with their needs in the same way they would in South Asia.
South Asians, be they Hindu, Muslim, or Sikh, need to hear that Jesus Christ came to save sinful mankind. The message that we have offended the one true and living God is not a popular message. If Christ followers were willing to befriend South Asians, they could earn a hearing. It would take time and much prayer. Unfortunately, very few believers are willing to do this to reach these unreached people who are often living in a place where there is freedom of religion.
Pray for workers, filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit, to go to the South Asians in Russia. Pray for South Asians in Russia to have the spiritual hunger to seek and find Jesus Christ. Pray for South Asians in Russia to begin a family-based movement to Christ that will bless them abundantly. Pray for the Lord’s blessing of the South Asian diaspora and the work of their hands as a testimony of his goodness and power.