Hi. I’m Pratap (prah-tahp). Welcome to Jodhpur (johd-poor), my hometown in northern India. Our city has an ancient stone fort built high on a rocky cliff. Its strong walls surround a palace where kings once lived. My father arranges tours of the fort, which is now a museum. He loves helping visitors learn about our rich heritage. My Rajput (rahj-put) ancestors were important rulers and warriors who served the king with loyalty, courage, and honesty.
My grandparents have a large home where we live, along with my father’s side of the family. Some upstairs rooms are set apart for women only. My older sister, Lakshmi (lahks-mee), joins my mother and aunties there. They are teaching her how to sew and cook since Lakshmi will soon be of marriage age.
In the courtyard, the men discuss important matters. As the oldest son, Father is responsible for big decisions, like arranging a marriage for my sister. Uncle reminds him that Lakshmi’s husband must come from a respected Rajput family. I think Lakshmi’s husband must also have a cast iron stomach since she has not yet mastered the art of cooking!
Even though I sometimes tease Lakshmi, I love her very much. Hindus honor the relationship between brothers and sisters with an annual celebration. Girls buy or make colorful, thread wristbands called raakhis (rah-keez), meaning bonds of protection. Sisters tie them around the right wrist of their brothers, wishing them long life and happiness. In return, brothers promise to protect and care for their sisters. Then we pray to statues of our Hindu gods and offer them gifts of food, flowers, or money. We hope this will please the gods and bring our family good luck.
Imagine you are participating in a brother/sister ceremony with Pratap. Find some colorful yarn or fancy ribbon. Cut a 12-inch piece for each person. Take turns tying a raaki cord around another family member’s wrist as a symbol of the love and care you have for each other. Discuss how Jesus is like a “raakhi brother” to those who put their trust in Him. Jesus speaks to the Father on behalf of his people (Romans 8:34b). He defends them against the attacks of their enemy, Satan (2 Thessalonians 3:3). He provides what they need (Matthew 6:31-33). He gave His gave life to rescue them from sin and death (1John 3:16a).
- As Hindus, Rajputs believe in millions of false gods and try to behave in a way that will please them. Most have never heard about the true God, or His Son, Jesus. Pray that the Rajput families will come to know Jesus, the only one who can forgive their sins.
- In the past, Rajputs served the kings of India with courage and loyalty. Pray that as Rajput families come to know Jesus, they will love and serve Him faithfully.