Dudekula in India

The Dudekula have only been reported in India
Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Dudekula are numerically a small community. They are known by other names such as "Pinjari", "Bhai", "Panjakuttai", and "Panjari". The other synonyms recorded by Thurston (1909) are "Ladaf" and "Nurbash". All these names are recorded at the time of census taking exercises and are found to be the corrupted forms of "naddaf" (a cotton-dresser) and "nur-baf" (weaver). In Telugu, the state language of Andhra Pradesh, "dude" means cotton and "ekuta" means cleaning. Hence they are locally called the Dudekula, the cotton cleaners and mattress makers. They are mentioned as "Mohammadan caste of cotton-cleaners, rope and tape makers" [Francis Thruston: 1909].

Where Are they Located?

Dudekula, in Andhra Pradesh are distributed in the districts bordering Tamil Nadu such as Gudiatham, Amburu, Thiruttani, Puttur ad Chittoor. They are found in large numbers in the villages of Regallu, Domalacheruvu, Kallur, Mangalepeta, Kalikiri, Rompicherla, Arakonda and Nayanapakala of Andhra Pradesh. Telugu is their mother tongue and it is used for communication at home and with outsiders. They also use the Telugu script. The personal name giving pattern of Dudekula is similar to the Hindus.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Dudekula community is endogamous. They are further divided on lineages such as Amburollu, Macharla, Gudiyathamollu, Nagurollu, Kallurollu, Ratollu, and Palemollu. Persons belong to a lineage are considered as brothers and sisters ("dayadulu") and marriage alliances among them are not made. For example, Dudekula with the Ratollu surname cannot marry among themselves. Hence for marriage alliance they go to Amburollu which is treated as "menarikam". Thus, the Dudekula follow exogamy based on surname. This type of alliance that includes the dropping of parallel cousin marriages, is a Hindu practice, but is followed by the Dudekulas. They marry cross cousins: father's sister's daughters (FSD) and mother's brother's daughters (MBD). As a result they are looked down upon by other Muslims. To overcome this, now they are adopting the customs and manners of the more Islamised groups.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Dudekulas are Muslims by religion and profess the folk version of Islam. As a rule they do not have family, clan, village deities, the way the Hindus have and pray in the name of one god Allah. But they are affiliated to the Muslim saints (pirs) of the nearby dargah. To observe Muharram festival, the "muzawar" is selected from their own community. To officiate over their marriage and death rituals a clergy (hazarat) from the Syed Muslim sect is engaged. The weekly congregations meet on Fridays and are led by the Hazarat. The sermon (bayan) is conducted in Urdu or Arabic and later it is translated into the local language Telugu, since the Dudekula do not understand the Urdu or Arabic. They regularly visit the Muslim shrines (dargahs) on pilgrimage. As has been already stated, the Dudekula consider the saint Penugonda Baba, i.e. Faqruddin, their patron saint and attend his annual funeral ceremony every year. Apart from this they also go on pilgrimage to the dargahs of Nagore-e-Sharief at Nagore, Tabrialm Pasha at Trichy to take vows or pay their offerings. When they are there they offer the Fathiha the ritual of reciting the first page of the Quran in the name of the saint and also offer food to the poor at the dargah en masse.

What Are Their Needs?

Dudekula were originally Hindu who converted to Islam a few generations ago. Till a few years ago they vacillated between the two religious traditions. Of late they have come under total Islamic ritual, tradition, customs and manners. Because of their poverty and also the un Islamic customs they practiced, they had a low status. By adopting Islamic customs now they are drawing a better status. The urge to claim higher status has turned the younger generation to learn Urdu and Arabic. Their women have begun observing seclusion rules, dress code and have dropped the Hindu custom of wearing "kumkum" on their forehead. Though quite a few of their rituals were Hindu, they are now renaming them with Urdu terms but still observe them. They have dropped observing the puberty ritual for the girls. The role of maternal uncle has also dispensed with. They have also adopted the practice of parallel cousin marriages. As a result the clan exogamy has been abandoned. Now-a-days marriages are settled and observed as per Islamic tradition. Both Dudekula men and women have accepted modern education and have occupied jobs in different fields. All these have helped the Dudekula elevate their status in the society.

Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Dudekula in India.

Profile Source:   Masthan Vali  

People Name General Dudekula
People Name in Country Dudekula
World Population 9,100
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Bhai; Daldi; Laddaf; Musalman; Muslim; Noor Basha; Noor-Bash; Nurbash; Panji; Panjikotti; Panjikutti; Panjukotti; Pinjara; डुडेकुला
People ID 16749
ROP3 Code 111997
Country India
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 10  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 7
Largest States
Andhra Pradesh
Tamil Nadu
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country India
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 10  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 7
  Andhra Pradesh 4,000
  Telangana 3,400
  Tamil Nadu 900
  Odisha 400
  Maharashtra 100
  Puducherry 80
  Karnataka 60
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Telugu (8,800 speakers)
Language Code tel   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 5
Secondary Languages
Primary Language Telugu (8,800 speakers)
Language Code tel   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 5
Secondary Languages
  Kannada 90
  Urdu 80
  Odia 80
  Tamil 80
People Groups Speaking Telugu

Primary Language:  Telugu

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1812-1966)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1818-1989)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1854-2016)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
World Bibles
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Father's Love Letter
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online Scripture (Talking Bibles)
Audio Recordings Oral Bible stories in Telugu
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Following Jesus (India, JF Project)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Telugu
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Film / Video The Hope Video
Film / Video The Pearl of Great Price
Film / Video The Story
General Bible Visuals
General Four Spiritual Laws
General God's Simple Plan
General Got Questions Ministry
Mobile App Download Bible from Google Play Store
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent *
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Photo Source Anonymous 
Map Source People Group Location: Omid. Other geography / data: GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project  
Profile Source Masthan Vali  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
* Religion Values From latest India census data.  Current values may differ.