Malayali, Malayalam in Malaysia


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Malayali have ancestral origins in Kerala and neighboring states in South India. Although there are more than thirty-five million Malayalam language speakers in India, there are only about 135,000 in the Malayali ethnic group, in Malaysia. Religious faith varies among the Malayalam speakers in India. Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are all present. The Christians are well represented, especially by the Church of St. Thomas, a disciple of Jesus Christ who is said to have visited Kerala in 52 AD. The Portuguese introduced Roman Catholicism to Kerala in the 15th century. Islam was introduced to Kerala through Arab traders who came into the ports for spices. One unique distinction among the Malayali community is that regardless of their religious heritage, their own origin as Malayali takes precedence.

The Malayali traveled to Malaysia in the early 20th century seeking a better life. They were initially employed on plantations as conductors, clerks, and hospital assistants. Due to their excellent command of English, the second generation of Malayali became plantation managers or assistant plantation managers, and others professionals.


What Are Their Lives Like?

Today in Malaysia, the Malayali are well represented in institutions of higher learning and professional occupations, such as law, medicine, scientific research, engineering, and politics. Unlike the Tamil majority, their language is not recognized as one of Malaysia's people group languages taught in the public school system. Due to the Malayali's zeal for higher education and economic success, the younger generations are losing their mother tongue and customs. The younger generation is more comfortable speaking English than Malayali. Though proud of their heritage, family beliefs, and traditions, many Malayali are losing a part of their identities. They have managed to keep their language, faith, festivals, and folklore alive. The Malayali language is Malayalam, which is derived from Sanskrit.


What Are Their Beliefs?

Malayali have seen their people embrace Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity in Malaysia's multi-religious society, yet they still maintain their Malayali identity. The Malayali, in addition to celebrating festivals of Indian Hindus in Malaysia (Thaipusam, Deepavali, etc.), also celebrate ancient festivals from Malayali legends which still practice distinctly by Malayali Hindus. For example, they consider Onam (celebrated in April) as an important harvest festival, while the Tamils regard Ponggal (celebrated in January) as their harvest festival. Another ancient Malayali festival is Vishu (their astronomical New Year). No Malayali festival is complete without traditional Kaikottucali (a rhythmic dance performed by young girls dressed in white and adorned with flowers) and traditional vegetarian meals, which differ from other Indian cuisine with the Malayali's use of coconut milk.


What Are Their Needs?

Pray for believers among the Malayali to not turn their backs on the larger Malayali community but relate to them in a way that both helps to maintain their cultural heritage and point to the Truth that transcends cultures. Pray for local believers outside the Malayali community to also relate and respond to the needs of the Malayali.


Prayer Points

Scripture Prayers for the Malayali, Malayalam in Malaysia.


Profile Source:   Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

People Name General Malayali
People Name in Country Malayali, Malayalam
Pronunciation mah-lah-YAH-lee mah-lah-YAH-lahm
Population this Country 365,000
Population all Countries 1,587,000
Total Countries 13
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 5
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 5  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed
Alternate Names Cochin Jew; Malai Gounden; Malai Jati; Malaikaran; Male Gounder; Moplah; मलयाली
People ID 17433
ROP3 Code 112836
Country Malaysia
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 50  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Country Malaysia
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 50  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Primary Language Malayalam
Language Code mal   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
Malay
Primary Language Malayalam
Language Code mal   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
  Malay
People Groups Speaking Malayalam

Primary Language:  Malayalam

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1811-1968)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1829-1995)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1841-2022)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Love letter to you from scripture Father's Love Letter
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Following Jesus video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video God's Story video God's Story
Film / Video Indigitube.tv Video / Animation Create International
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Malayalam Jesus Film Project
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
Film / Video Magdalena video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video My Last Day video, anime Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children Jesus Film Project
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
General Biblical answers to your questions Got Questions Ministry
General Four Spiritual Laws Campus Crusade for Christ
General Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 12.00 %)
23.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
32.00 %
Islam
44.00 %
Non-Religious
1.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
Anglican
0.0 %
Independent
5.0 %
Orthodox
0.0 %
Other Christian
5.0 %
Protestant
20.0 %
Roman Catholic
70.0 %
Photo Source Anonymous 
Map Source Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Profile Source Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more