Korku in India


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Amaravati and the Korkus in Maharashtra came into the world's media spotlight in 1992. BBC came into the interior villages, reporting on children belonging to Korku tribe starving as the outside world looked on in amazement. Help came in the form of food packets and medicines through World Health Organisation. Besides, many voluntary organizations too stepped in to the field with similar measures. Today these incidents have long been forgotten.

The cause on the one hand are lack of education and ill-health, on the other hand is irresponsibility and cycle of exploitation. In many villages, 'fence eats up the crops'. Awagad, is one such village that depicts the classic tale of exploitation. Many have not tread into that village, where one can hear stories which are hitherto unheard.

Travelling from Nagpur for 7 hours one can reach Chikaldara hills. Melghat Tiger Reserve and Project Tiger, are some of the bill boards that welcome the ones who reach there. Sources close to these resorts say, there are 88 tigers (1992 source) in this tiger reserve. Given the importance to tigers, one will get a feel whether tigers are more pampered than human beings. Awagad is one of the Korku villages situated in the vicinity of Chikaldara, 33km from Semoda which is in Dharni - Paratwada road. To 'serve' the people here, forest, education and health departments compete among themselves.

To Korkus who is also known as Vanavasi (forest dweller) work in forest department. Whenever they are in occupation, they ought to fetch a bunch of firewood. This will found its place in the hearth of forest officials. If the coolies work for two days they fetch Rs. 14 per day, provided they must thump sign a voucher stating three days wages given to them. Once the officer left, one day's wage should be returned to the forest guard. In that, cost of the revenue stamp Re.1 will be deducted! If the same Korku happens to chop a bamboo for building his hut, he will be fined Rs. 20/- by the aforesaid forest official.

If the Korku manages to offer a chicken or a bottle of country liquor, he may be exempted from fine. Every year during the harvest, each Korku family has to supply 5 kilos of Jawari (grains in this region) to the forest guards - another example of exploitation.

Korku in Awagad live in literal darkness, in the absence of electric supply. Many years before electric supply had been extended to the village. In 5 houses, electric wiring were finished. But due to the objection of the forest department, the lines were never electrified, saying that the line would touch a tree. In Makla village, situated 11 km away from Semoda, condition was even worse. Electricity had not reached there. The ill-fated villagers have to go to Churnia, another hill town, trekking many miles to procure kerosene, that too at a double price. Korkus found it easier to keep wood burning all night to keep the village lit.

In summer, people of Awagad feel acute shortage of water. Two wells dug by government was dried up then. Tube well, which was dug a year back was not functioning. Once in a while a wobbling truck loaded with water reaches there. Since the plastic tank setup for emptying the trucks, was flown away, the remaining water had to be released to one of the dried well.

A school was there with two class rooms. Pupils up to fourth standard are supposed to be taught there. One of the teachers seldom comes there commuting from neighboring Churnia. After receiving the appointment order and working for two months, the teacher went home and never to be returned.

In Awagad there were neither ration depots (fair price shops for the poor) nor public health centers. Some doctors frequent there seeking patients selling medicines and treat all sicknesses. If an expense towards transport is given they come on motor cycles for emergencies.

If some quarters accuse development is standstill there, government side was unwilling to accept. According to government records, many roads, bridges and buildings were constructed. But all these were alleged to be swept away in the rains.

Korkus are Adivasis (tribal/ natives) who never complain. Otherwise who is interested to listen to their grievances? They somehow manage to make both ends meet. Paddy received from cultivation, vegetables, firewood gathered from forests, and other commodities are sold in the nearby weekly village markets.

Wooden pillars erected from the floor are the main base of the house they make. The roof is thatched with bamboo frames and hand made tiles. Bamboo mats form the skeleton of the walls which is smeared with mud. There they lay their heads dreaming about a better tomorrow.

Korku Village Mission had been in existence 100 years ago in Chikaldara focusing on Korku tribes. Many tombs could be seen in the bushy cemetery where most of the marble slabs were taken and the total number is not known. Eleven tombs with inscriptions could be seen there. Korku Baptist Mission, founded by Americans with their mission compound and activities were withdrawn in late 40s handing over the responsibility to the Baptist Church Association located at the district head quarters.

In 1981, Indian Evangelical Mission (IEM) took over this field and began an outreach training institute in Chikaldara. The missionaries who were trained there worked among many tribes and communities in general and Korkus in particular.

After the last 14 years the condition of the Korkus certainly must have changed - better or worse. But the struggle of malnutrition, frequently plague these hills. In 1992 about a thousand children were died of malnutrition. In the year 2001, Outlook Magazine reported 1,400 deaths in the region.


Profile Source:   Philipose Vaidyar  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Expanded PDF Profile

People Name General Korku
People Name in Country Korku
Population in India 973,000
World Population 975,400
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 19
Alternate Names Bondhi, Bopchi, Kodaku, Kurku, Mouasi, Muwasi, कोरकु
People ID 17269
ROP3 Code 112639
Affinity Bloc South Asian Peoples
People Cluster Munda-Santal
People Group Korku
Ethnic Code AUG04z
Total Subgroups on file 5
Largest Subgroups
Bopchi
46,000
Bondeya
24,000
Bundhi
24,000
Ruma
11,000
Nahura
60
Affinity Bloc South Asian Peoples
People Cluster Munda-Santal
People Group Korku
Ethnic Code AUG04z
Total Subgroups 5
  Bopchi 46,000
  Bondeya 24,000
  Bundhi 24,000
  Ruma 11,000
  Nahura 60
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 11  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 8
Largest States
Madhya Pradesh
664,000
Maharashtra
265,000
Assam
42,000
Arunachal Pradesh
700
Chhattisgarh
500
Jharkhand
200
Odisha
100
Nagaland
90
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 11  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 8
  Madhya Pradesh 664,000
  Maharashtra 265,000
  Assam 42,000
  Arunachal Pradesh 700
  Chhattisgarh 500
  Jharkhand 200
  Odisha 100
  Nagaland 90
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Korku (610,000 speakers)
Language Code kfq   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 37
Secondary Languages
(only 15 largest shown)
Hindi
263,000
Assamese
29,000
Korwa
20,000
Marathi
18,000
Bengali
6,300
Malvi
4,900
Khandesi
4,700
Gondi, Northern
4,500
Bhili
1,900
Gujarati
1,000
Bareli, Rathwi
1,000
Nimadi
1,000
Kuvi
400
Odia
100
Telugu
100
Other People Groups Speaking Korku
Primary Language Korku (610,000 speakers)
Language Code kfq   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 37
Secondary Languages (only 15 largest shown)
  Hindi 263,000
  Assamese 29,000
  Korwa 20,000
  Marathi 18,000
  Bengali 6,300
  Malvi 4,900
  Khandesi 4,700
  Gondi, Northern 4,500
  Bhili 1,900
  Gujarati 1,000
  Bareli, Rathwi 1,000
  Nimadi 1,000
  Kuvi 400
  Odia 100
  Telugu 100
People Groups Speaking Korku

Primary Language:  Korku

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1900-1981)
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon National Bible Societies
Forum of Bible Agencies World Bible Finder
Gospel Go World Bibles
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Korku
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
0.08 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
0.36 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
99.05 %
Islam
0.08 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.03 %
Unknown
0.40 %
Photo Source Anonymous 
Map Source Omid / Joshua Project / Global Mapping Intl  
Profile Source Philipose Vaidyar  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
* Religion Values From latest India census data.  Current values may differ.


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