Kandra in India

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Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Kandra
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 786,000
World Population: 786,000
Primary Language: Odia
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 0.14 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Dalit - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Kandra or Kandara are a people group who live in east central India near rivers and the Indian Ocean. Their name means "tendon." They qualify as a scheduled caste, which gives them special preferences in public jobs and university admission. In a recent survey only 68% of men and 50% of Kandra women could read and write. Other Hindus see most Kandra as low class. Often the Kandra are denied entrance to Hindu temples. Brahmins priests do not offer their services to low class groups.

The main occupations of the Kandra are makers of bamboo items, fishing, security guards and landless agricultural workers.

The primary language of the Kandra is Odia. Some others speak Bengali and other regional languages.

Where Are they Located?

The large majority of the Kandra people live in the Indian states of Odisha and West Bengal. Smaller pockets of Kandra live in other Indian states.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The life of the typical Kandra family is not easy. Their traditional jobs of makers of inexpensive bamboo items and as farm workers on other castes' land have given way to becoming fishermen. Kandra men fish in the waters of the Bay of Bengal and in the rivers of Odisha and West Bengal states. When fishing is good, the Kandra can make ends meet. When fishing is bad, they starve. With little education, they will take any job that can bring money to their families. Illiteracy is a major problem. Unfortunately, many of their children do not attend school or attend school for at most a few years. Some Kandra men watch the property and land of higher castes as guards.

The Kandra are endogamous, that is they marry within their own group. Cousin marriages are popular. Sons inherit what little property that owned by their fathers. Their own priests conduct important life ceremonies like births, wedding and funerals as Brahmin priests refuse to associate with the Kandra.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Kandra are almost all Hindus. Hinduism is the ancient religion of India. The Kandra worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. They give special attention to Vishnu, the preserver god. They offer food, flowers and incense at their shrines because they are often not allowed into Hindu temples. The goal of the Hindu is to escape the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth through the performance of rituals and good deeds.

The Kandra participate in the yearly Hindu holidays of Holi, the festival of colors, Diwali, the festival of lights and Navratri, the nine-day celebration of autumn.

What Are Their Needs?

The Kandra have many pressing needs. Most of all they need to hear the life-changing message of Jesus Christ in a way they can understand. They need to see the love and mercy of Christ lived out before them by Christians. The Kandra need help in educating their children. They need job training so they can make a decent living.

Prayer Points

Pray for Kandra families to be drawn to Jesus and to the Bible to find out more about this man, Jesus.
Pray for discovery Bible studies to spread rapidly as they bless Kandra families and communities.
Pray the Lord will give the Kandra understanding and responsive hearts as they hear about the love of Christ.
Pray the Lord moves Christian workers to live among and reach out to the Kandra.

Text Source:   David Kugel