Koya in India

The Koya have only been reported in India
Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Subgroups: 11 (10 largest shown)  Show all

Subgroup Name Population
Kamar 19,000
Mursi 13,000
Oddilu 6,800
Gutta 2,800
Metta 2,800
Basava Gola 1,600
Tagara Parja 1,400
Rajkoya 1,100
Bhine Koya Unknown
Kottu Unknown

Introduction / History

The Koya live in the forests, plains, and valleys on both sides of the Godavari River, which lies in the central Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Many also live in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. The Koya are said to have migrated to central India from their original home in Bastar, northern India. They believe their main deity still resides in a cave in the Bastar region. According to Koya mythology, life originated from water.

The Koya language, also called Koyi, is closely related to Gondi and has been strongly influenced by Telugu, the tongue of the neighboring Hindu population. The Koya are one of the few multi-racial and multi-lingual tribal communities in India. Most Koya speak either Gondi or Telugu, in addition to Koyi.

Since India's independence from the British in 1947, the Indian government has increased its influence over the Koya. As a result, the Koya have rebelled numerous times. The Koya resent the restrictions that have been placed on their use of reserve forests and distillation of liquor. They also resent the hydroelectric projects and rehabilitation of refugees in their land.


What Are Their Lives Like?

The Koya are primarily farmers. They once shifted from one plot to another, farming various areas. However, the government has now restricted their movement and has encouraged them to farm on fixed plots. They showed the Koya how to farm coconut and coffee. They also granted the Koya permanent ownership rights to their land if they would grow rice there.

In the hill regions occupied by the Koya, there are still no permanent farms. Crops are grown in small clearings for only two or three years. Rice and tobacco are the main cash crops for those in the hill regions. Their staple diet is sorghum. The Koya's consider the palm tree as a gift of nature, and every family owns at least four to eight of them. During the four month palm season, Koya families live almost entirely on palm juice.

Because the income from farming is very low, many of the Koya who do not own land work as hired farm laborers. Others weave bamboo baskets and sell them at the weekly markets to Hindu merchants. They also are excellent hunters. Good hunters are regarded as heroes. Hunting is valuable to provide food and protection from wild animals. Many still use bow and arrows for hunting and to attack their enemies. Koya gather forest produce to supplement the vegetables grown in their home gardens. Cattle are symbols of wealth, and they are kept for their dairy products, meat, fertilizer, and trade. They are also used in religious sacrifices.

The Koya usually live in villages. Occasionally, they can be found living with other tribal and non-tribal peoples. Koya villages are located near dependable water sources. The larger villages are situated near the rivers, while the smaller ones can be found in the hills and jungles. Their wood, thatch, and mud houses are built without windows. They usually have two rooms and a porch around the outside.

All Koya belong to one of five sub-divisions called gotrams. Every Koya is born into a clan, and he cannot leave it. Birth, marriage, and death are three important celebrations in Koya villages. The family group is called the kutum. Sons usually live separately from the family, but still work the farm with their parents and brothers. Monogamy is practiced. Most marriages among adolescents are arranged by the parents with the consent of the girl. Marriage ceremonies last for three days in the summer when palm juice is plentiful. They involve both the bride and groom's villages.


What Are Their Beliefs?

The Koya practice their own ethnic religion, but also worship a number of Hindu gods and goddesses. Many Koya deities are female, the most important being the "mother earth." Sacrifices are carried out by the village priests. The Koya do not believe in heaven, hell, or reincarnation. When a person dies, his body is carried on a cot which is covered with grain, liquor, new clothes, money, and a cow's tail. At the appropriate place, the cot is faced towards the West, and the body is burned. The ashes are placed in a clay pot. The Koya believe that their spirits either linger about the clay ancestor pot, patrol the sky over the village, or wander about the village disturbing daily life.


What Are Their Needs?

Cholera, smallpox, and malaria are big problems for the Koya. They need quality medical care as well as health and hygiene education.

The Bible is available in Telugu.


Prayer Points

* Pray that God will give missions agencies strategies for reaching the Koya with the Gospel.
* Ask God to give Koya Christians a burden to share the Good News with their own people.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Koya towards Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
* Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.


Prayer / Resource Links:
Global Prayer Digest: 2009-09-01
Global Prayer Digest: 2009-09-21
Global Prayer Digest: 2011-11-03
Global Prayer Digest: 2012-08-02
People Name General Koya
People Name in Country Koya
World Population 783,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 2  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 16
Alternate Names Bhumi Razalu, Kavor, Kaya, Koa, Koi, Koitar, Koitur, Koyato, Koyi, Manjulotilu, Mayalotilu, Mila, Odavandlu, Rajkoya, कोया
People ID 17282
ROP3 Code 112655
Affinity Bloc South Asian Peoples
People Cluster South Asian, other
People Group Koya
Ethnic Code AUG06z
Total Subgroups 11
  Kamar 19,000
  Mursi 13,000
  Oddilu 6,800
  Gutta 2,800
  Metta 2,800
  Basava Gola 1,600
  Tagara Parja 1,400
  Rajkoya 1,100
  Bhine Koya 20
  Kottu 0
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 15
Largest States
Telangana
486,000
Odisha
148,000
Andhra Pradesh
104,000
Chhattisgarh
36,000
Assam
5,600
Tamil Nadu
1,200
Karnataka
900
Puducherry
700
Maharashtra
500
West Bengal
200
Delhi
200
Arunachal Pradesh
200
Nagaland
30
Meghalaya
30
Madhya Pradesh
20
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 15
  Telangana 486,000
  Odisha 148,000
  Andhra Pradesh 104,000
  Chhattisgarh 36,000
  Assam 5,600
  Tamil Nadu 1,200
  Karnataka 900
  Puducherry 700
  Maharashtra 500
  West Bengal 200
  Delhi 200
  Arunachal Pradesh 200
  Nagaland 30
  Meghalaya 30
  Madhya Pradesh 20
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Telugu (365,000 speakers)
Language Code tel   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 43
Secondary Languages
(only 15 largest shown)
Koya
292,000
Odia
49,000
Gondi, Northern
28,000
Hindi
21,000
Kuvi
17,000
Chhattisgarhi
11,000
Halbi
4,000
Bhatri
2,900
Assamese
1,900
Kannada
900
Marathi
600
Gujarati
400
Kui
300
English
300
Bengali
300
Primary Language Telugu (365,000 speakers)
Language Code tel   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 43
Secondary Languages (only 15 largest shown)
  Koya 292,000
  Odia 49,000
  Gondi, Northern 28,000
  Hindi 21,000
  Kuvi 17,000
  Chhattisgarhi 11,000
  Halbi 4,000
  Bhatri 2,900
  Assamese 1,900
  Kannada 900
  Marathi 600
  Gujarati 400
  Kui 300
  English 300
  Bengali 300
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  (1854-2002)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
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 (Indigitube.tv)
General Bible Visuals
General Four Spiritual Laws
General God's Simple Plan
General Got Questions Ministry
Mobile App Download Bible from Google Play Store
Text / Printed Matter Bible
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
0.01 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
0.80 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
98.76 %
Islam
0.22 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.02 %
Unknown
0.19 %
Photo Source Anonymous 
Map Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source Bethany World Prayer Center / GAAPNet 
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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