Malayali in Sri Lanka


Population
26,000
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

There is a language in southern India called Malayali, but that is not what we are covering in this profile. Instead of a language in Kerala, we are dealing with a tribal people in Tamil Nadu, just to the east of Kerala, where people speak Malayali.

While the Malayalis are a tribal people, they have only inhabited the southern tip of India for about 10 generations. The ancestors of the Malayali slowly immigrated from the Middle East and through South Asia, combining with other peoples along the way, to eventually end up in their current locations, most of which includes southern India, but also Sri Lanka. It is Malayali tradition that three brothers each settled on separate nearby hills to form the three primary and oldest Malayali villages.


Where Are they Located?

Most Malayali people are in India's state of Tamil Nadu, but some now live in Sri Lanka, an island to Tamil Nadu's southeast.


What Are Their Lives Like?

While globalization is continuing to affect the Malayali people just like it is affecting all people groups on the planet, the Malayalis are still primarily a tribal people. Most of them live in a rural setting with an economic emphasis on farming, herding, and gathering non-timber forest products from the forests around them. Some of the most common crops include rice, millet, and a variety of spices. Many Malayali people live in mud huts or small houses with thatched roofs. Most Malayalis speak Tamil, the primary language of Tamil Nadu and the oldest of the four Dravidian languages that descended from Sanskrit. In 1961, only 2.3 percent of the Malayali population could read and write, and that number remains low today.

Traditional ways of doing things are very important to the Malayalis. For the process of engagement and marriage, for example, they have elaborate rituals involving almost all of the family, multiple ceremonial visitations, traditional scripts to be recited, and a bridal price to be paid. Many of these ceremonial interactions involve very high context communication, and this type of high context communication is likely to be found in daily life as well.

A social hierarchy rules parts of Malayali life. There is a Govendan, who is the leader of the highest tier, the Mooppan, who is the intermediary between the Govendan, and the common people, and then the common people on the lowest tier. Elders are highly respected. Family is very important to the Malayalis, and they are not afraid of going out of their ways or being inconvenienced for the sake of family.

The average Malayali does not make very much money, but they are content with what they have. More recently, scientists have been working with the Malayali to study the non-timber forest products that they use for traditional medicine. They are adaptable and are able to meet the challenges that an ever-changing world brings.

While traditionally women and men have different roles in society, apart from their rituals and ceremonies Malayalis are beginning to value equality between men and women more and more.


What Are Their Beliefs?

While the Malayalis' history has caused many different religions and belief systems to cross their paths, today they are nearly all Hindu. The Malayalis are unreached, with only .08 percent of the population identifying themselves as Christians. Concerning religion, they do not believe that Hinduism is necessarily the only right religion. They are generally open minded and accepting of the beliefs of others.

The Malayalis have several traditional bad omens, such as crossing the path of a widow during a marriage ceremony, passing by black cats, and hearing the bark of a barking deer.


What Are Their Needs?

While medical treatment is showing improvement throughout the world in general, there is still work to be done among the peoples of Sri Lanka. Pray that proper medical treatments would be more readily available to the Malayalis.

Since the Malayalis are so accepting of other religions, there is a need for a change in their worldview in order for the gospel to be accepted as the one true way. Pray that the Lord would send more workers to the Malayalis and that they would be effective in explaining the gospel in a way that can be fully understood. Pray that a national church would be planted that the Lord can use to sweep through the Malayali population.


Prayer Points

* Pray for spiritual openness among this Hindu tribe.
* Pray that believers from other parts of South Asia will become determined to take Jesus Christ to the Malayali tribe of Srl Lanka.
* Pray for the Holy Spirit to move in such a way that there is a strong disciple making movement among Malayali people in Sri Lanka.


References

https://joshuaproject.net/people_groups/17433/IN


Profile Source:   Keith Carey  

Prayer / Resource Links:
Global Prayer Digest: 2010-09-21
People Name General Malayali
People Name in Country Malayali
Population in Sri Lanka 26,000
World Population 1,242,000
Total Countries 12
Indigenous Yes
Unreached Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Progress Scale 1
Alternate Names Cochin Jew, Malai Gounden, Malai Jati, Malaikaran, Male Gounder, Moplah, मलयाली
People ID 17433
ROP3 Code 112836
Country Sri Lanka
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 45  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country Sri Lanka
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 45  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Tamil (26,000 speakers)
Language Code tam   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Tamil
Primary Language Tamil (26,000 speakers)
Language Code tam   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Tamil

Primary Language:  Tamil

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes   (1714-1956)
Bible-New Testament Yes   (1715-1998)
Bible-Complete Yes   (1727-2002)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
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 Fathers Love Letter
Audio Recordings General Ministry Resources
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online Scripture (Talking Bibles)
Audio Recordings Oral Bible
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Following Jesus (India, JF Project)
Film / Video General Ministry Resources
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Tamil
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
General Bible Visuals
General God's Simple Plan
General Got Questions Ministry
Mobile App Download Bible from Google Play Store
Text / Printed Matter Bible
Text / Printed Matter Bible: Old Version Bible
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
100.00 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
Unknown
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2017  Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source Omid / Joshua Project / Global Mapping Intl  
Profile Source Keith Carey  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
Religion Values * From Sri Lanka census data.  Current values may differ.


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