Koli in India






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The term Koli means fisherman, according to legend the Koli claim to be descendents from the Black Dwarf that came forth from the body of King Vena. Numbering more than 12 million they are one of the largest communities of western India. The Koli constitute of a number of communities with various occupations and cultural identities while still remaining Koli. As their name implies fishing is common, other occupations are laborers, agriculturists, water carriers, boatman and animal husbandry, but there is also Koli that have advanced themselves. As they are a large percentage of the population in Gujarat there are those within their people that have advanced education and placed themselves well within society and government, but the majority live within the lower strata of society.

What are Their Lives Like?

The Koli live mostly in the villages and towns of Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. They live the simple life of agriculturalists, but as technology has entered into the life of most people they are also aware of the life available in the city and have experienced a few of the material benefits that can be obtained.

What are Their Beliefs?

Nearly all of Koli are Hindu while a very few will practice Islam. Both nuclear and extended families are common among them and the eldest son inherits the father's authority, the Koli cremate their dead and practice death pollution for eleven days. The Koli worship Guar Mati and Holi Mata among other deities of Hinduism, they also believe in ghosts and spirits. Depending on the region they will celebrate Namiya festival associated with fishing as well as Karbha, Bahan and other common festivals. A Brahmin priest will officiate at religious activities as well as rituals associated with the cycles of life.

Prayer Points

* Ask God that workers will be sent to every district and village.
* Pray that God will raise up Koli evangelists that will have a heart to reach their own.
* Pray that God will send film teams that will present the life and death of Jesus.
* Pray that the God who has set eternity in their hearts will prepare their hearts for the Gospel.

Profile Source:   GSCC  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

People Name General Koli
People Name in Country Koli
Population in India 12,527,000
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Buntar, Chamar-Julaha, Dhimar, Kabaria Dagi, Kaperdia, Kapre, Kili, Koda, Koli of Gujarat, Koli Patel, Kora, Koral, Kori, Kuli, Machhi Koli, Mahar-Kili, Malhar, Tantubais, Taru
Affinity Bloc South Asian Peoples
People Cluster Gujarati
People Name General Koli
Ethnic Code CNN25n
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 28  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution rankinging, )
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Gujarati (7,357,000) Hindi (3,693,000) Pahari, Mahasu (179,000) Awadhi (178,000)
Bhojpuri (133,000) Dhundari (131,000) Kanauji (112,000) Mandeali (102,000)
Panjabi, Eastern (77,000) Bundeli (70,000) Kangri (62,000) Kachchi (60,000)
Marathi (59,000) Marwari (53,000) Telugu (51,000) Pahari, Kullu (42,000)
Garhwali (30,000) Nimadi (26,000) Kannada (23,000) Merwari (18,000)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Gujarati 7,357,000 Hindi 3,693,000
Pahari, Mahasu 179,000 Awadhi 178,000
Bhojpuri 133,000 Dhundari 131,000
Kanauji 112,000 Mandeali 102,000
Panjabi, Eastern 77,000 Bundeli 70,000
Kangri 62,000 Kachchi 60,000
Marathi 59,000 Marwari 53,000
Telugu 51,000 Pahari, Kullu 42,000
Garhwali 30,000 Nimadi 26,000
Kannada 23,000 Merwari 18,000
Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1809-1965)
New Testament Yes   (1820-1985)
Complete Bible Yes   (1823-2005)
Category Resource
Audio Recordings Global Recordings
Audio Recordings Online scripture / Bible
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Following Jesus (India)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Gujarati
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
General Bible Visuals
General Four Spiritual Laws
General Gods Simple Plan
General Got Questions Ministry
Printed Matter Fathers Love Letter
Scripture Bible-in-Your-Language
Scripture Bibles, Bible League
Scripture World Missionary Press Booklets
Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2007-09-14
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-08-04

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.25 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
99.74 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Photo Source: International Mission Board-SBC   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Omid / Joshua Project / Global Mapping Intl  
Profile Source: GSCC  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
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