Introduction / History
Traditionally Barwalas have worked as village watchmen and messengers, overseeing the work of coolies, bearing torches, and carrying palanquins at weddings. Others manufactured mats and winnowing fans. They are considered to be from a low caste, meaning that they have very little influence or power.
By the beginning of the 20th century, many were agricultural laborers working for the more prestigious Rajputs.
Where are they located?
Most of the Muslim Barwala people live in rural areas. They live in the Sialkot, Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur districts of Punjab, Pakistan. Others live further north in Pakistan's portion of Kashmir. There are a few Barwala people in India, but most of these are Hindu.
What are their lives like?
Today most of them are engaged in agriculture or as unskilled laborers. The Barwalas live mainly in nuclear households. The oldest son becomes the head of the household after the father dies. They allow for divorce and remarriage. There are 12 major Barwala clans in Pakistan.
What are their beliefs?
Most Barwala people are Hindu, especially those that live in India, but in Pakistan most are Muslims. Though they adhere to the basic tenets of Islam, they are adversely affected by the caste system which influences people in almost all of South Asia.
What are their needs?
The Barwala people need the opportunity to make a better living. They also need to understand that though they are from a low status community, that the God of creation gives them dignity and value.
* Pray that the Barwala peoples will have an intense hunger for spiritual truth that will lead them to Jesus Christ.
* Pray that the Lord will thrust out workers to the Barwala people. Pray that these workers will be equipped with the power and fruit of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
* Pray for the Lord to pave the way for a disciple-making movement to flourish among the Barwala people of Pakistan.
ReferencesView Barwala (Muslim traditions) in all countries.