Introduction / History
The Naikda or Nayaka of west and south India are a Scheduled tribal people. Scheduled people get special help by the Indian government in education, business and employment. The Naikda are among the original Dravidian inhabitants of the regions of India they now live. They were hunter-gatherers of the forest until the time of the British administration. The Naikdas cleared wooded areas and became agricultural workers. Some owned land and others did not own land.
Where Are they Located?
Both in 1858 and 1868 the Naikdas rebelled against British rule. As more and more non-tribal peoples moved into the their land, the mostly illiterate Naikdas lost ownership of their lands and forest resources. They attacked local police stations and government buildings in protest.
The Naidkas speak Kannada, Gujarati and Telugu as well as other regional languages.
Most Naikdas live in the Indian states of Karnataka and Gujarat. Others live in the states of the Maharashtra, Telangana and Rajasthan.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Most Naikdas live as agricultural workers in rural areas. Most do not have electricity and indoor plumbing. Some work as woodcutters or have migrated to the cities to labor as unskilled persons in factories to send home money to their families. Men hunt in the forest to obtain meat and animal skins to sell. By Indian standards the Naikdas are some of the poorest people in the nation.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The main foods of the Naikdas are rice, millet and wheat. Seasonal vegetables also make up he bulk of their diet. They do eat meat except beef when it is available which is not the norm.
Families and clans arrange marriages. Both adult and child marriage is practiced. Marriage of cousins is common. The groom lives with or near his parents' home. Sons inherit property but daughters do if there are no sons in a family.
Since the Naikdas are a tribal people and for the most part illiterate, they are looked down upon by most other groups in Indian society. Alcohol consumption is a common among the Naikdas.
The Naikdas consider themselves to be Hindus. They also practice folk religion and animism, the belief that spirits in habit the various parts of nature. Some Naikdas use Brahman priests in life rituals like weddings, births and death. Others use local elders and village priests.
What Are Their Needs?
The Naikdas worship the Hindu gods, Brahma, Shiva, Rama, Krishna, Hanuman and Kali. They participate in the traditional Hindu holidays such as Holi, the festival of color, and Diwali, the celebration of lights. Married women observe Divaso. This holiday is dedicated to Goddess Parvati and is observed for a happy and prosperous family life.
The Naikdas need to hear the life-changing message of Jesus Christ in a way they can understand. They need to see themselves as sinners in need of a Savior. A particular need for this tribal people is for Christian schools and teachers.
* Scripture Prayers for the Naikda in India.
Pray the Lord of the harvest sends Christian workers and teachers to this needy people.
Pray that Christian agencies do more to alleviate the poverty of the Naikdas.
Pray that the Lord raises up Bible-believing churches in the Naikda community.