Malakuravan in India

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Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Malakuravan
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 1,400
World Population: 1,400
Primary Language: Tamil
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Hindu - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Malakuravan are a group of Hindu peoples who live in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. They consider the founder of their caste Nishad, a boatman featured in the Ramayana. Their traditional occupation was that ferrying pilgrims across and along the holy river Ganges. The Mallah have pride in their service and deem it to be a holy calling.

The majority of the Malakuravan today live near the rivers of India where they fish, farm and ferry people across the waterways if no bridge is present. The Mallah fall into the fourth level caste of Hinduism, the Sudras, who gain their living through manual labor.

The Indian government considers the Malakuravan to be a backward caste because of the high amount of illiteracy among them. Children often must drop out of school and work at an early age due to the poverty of their parents.

The primary language of the Malakuravan is Hindi. They also speak many other languages depending upon where they live in India.

Where Are they Located?

The majority of Malakuravan live in north and northeast India in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Malakuravan people are mostly a poor, illiterate people. They are involved in boating, fishing and sometimes in farming. They are strict about marrying within their own caste.

Sons inherit their father's property. The women are not often seen in public, although at times in Hindu pilgrimage areas such as Allahabad or Varanasi, you will see children and women of this caste selling flowers and incense for river worship purposes. They are considered a backward caste and have low status in the Hindu world.

The Malakuravan are not vegetarians but will not eat beef. Their main foods are rice, fish, grains, vegetables and fruit. Meat is often reserved for special occasions like Hindu holidays and festivals.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Malakuravan people are Hindus. Hinduism is the ancient religion of India. They often have a pragmatic approach to spiritual matters. They will worship or placate any god whom the believe will provide them with protection and economic favor.

The Malakuravan worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works that they will attain moksha or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. They visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers and incense to their gods. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs.

The main yearly holidays of the Malakuravan people are Holi, the festival of colors, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn and Rama Navami, Rama's birthday.

What Are Their Needs?

The Malakuravan need help in educating their children. They also need help in learning new job skills so that they can participate in India's modern economy. Most of all, they need to hear and understand the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and bring them a new abundant life.

Prayer Points

Pray for workers to go to the Malakuravan people, and for their hearts to be ready to receive their Savior.
Pray for networks of believing Malakuravan families and fellowships that will throw the doors open for others to follow Jesus.
Pray for the Lord to bless the families among the Malakuravan people with His presence and mercy.

Text Source:   Keith Carey