The Kanara Konkani on India
The Kanara Konkani inhabit the mountains and coastal regions of western India. They live primarily in the Karnataka district and the Western Ghat Mountains of Maharashtra state. The Kanara Konkani (also known as the Kokni or Kokna) speak an Indo-Aryan language called Kukna. Very few of the Kanara Konkani are bilingual.
Between 1396 and 1408 A.D., the Kanara Konkani were forced to migrate northward from their homeland due to the pressure of the great Durga Devi famine. During this time, their language was heavily influenced by other languages of the region. Although the Kanara Konkani form two different territorial units separated by the jungle and hills, they remain a single, cohesive group with no sub-tribes or divisions. Recently, the Indian government has begun implementing programs to help develop the Kanara Konkani economy. The programs include welfare, vocational training, and creating new jobs.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Like other tribes in western India, the Kanara Konkani are entirely dependent on agriculture for survival. They must supplement their incomes by taking other jobs such as forestry, which was their traditional way of life. The also cut grass and firewood, fish, and hunt. Many have little or no land of their own, and depend on wage paying agricultural jobs. Both men and women are needed to share in the farm work.
The Kanara Konkani migrate after the harvest season to find work as brick makers. The government is attempting to control this temporary mobility and help them to start productive, income-generating programs in their own communities. The goal is for the Kanara Konkani to become self-sufficient, no longer relying on temporary jobs in other communities for survival.
The Kanara Konkani live together as extended families. Their society is patrilineal, which means that the bloodlines are traced through the fathers. Their homes are built out of mud and thatch, and have no windows. Villages are not sanitary, but the women keep the homes neatly swept and in order, taking out the garbage daily. Prevalent medical problems include malaria, diarrhea, and night blindness. Snake bites are also common. Like most tribal people, they believe that these misfortunes are caused by the gods and spirits.
The Kanara Konkani who live in the plains are usually surrounded by rice paddies. They build their homes wherever fertile land is available—whether in the valleys or on gentle hill slopes. Many of the villages are occupied by different ethnic tribes and intermarriage is common. Because of the hilly terrain, the villages are separated from each other by great distances.
The Kanara Konkani women are fond of ornaments made of nickel or silver. Such jewelry can be purchased from the smiths who work at the weekly markets. Tattooing is also extremely popular and is considered a sign of beauty. Men are usually clean shaven and have short hair. The bhagats, or medicine men, are an exception. They, along with the older men, keep their hair long and tied in a knot at the back.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Ninety-nine percent of the Kanara Konkani are Hindus, worshipping the various Hindu gods and goddesses. However, in their daily lives, the Kanara Konkani still worship their tribal and village or household deities. They believe that there are both good and evil deities who must be appeased with offerings and rituals.
What Are Their Needs?
Although the Kanara Konkani occasionally visit Christian churches, they have not completely divorced themselves from their traditional religious beliefs. They often turn to their own gods for help and guidance, particularly in moments of stress or difficulty.
Only 1% of the Kanara Konkani have accepted Christ, although five mission agencies are currently targeting them. Prayer is the key to reaching these precious people with the Gospel.
- Ask God to grant wisdom and favor to the missions agencies that are targeting the Kanara Konkani.
- Pray that the Lord will raise up long term workers to join the few who have already responded.
- Pray for effectiveness of the Jesus film among the Kanara Konkani.
- Pray that God will reveal Himself to these precious people through dreams and visions.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Kanara Konkani towards the Gospel.
- Take authority over the principalities and powers that are keeping the Kanara Konkani bound in spiritual darkness.
- Pray that God will raise up prayer teams to begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
- Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Kanara Konkani by the year 2000.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Kanara Konkani
- Country: India
- Their language: Kukna (Kanara)
- Largest religion:
- Christians: 1%
- Church members: 1,842
- Scriptures in their own language: New Testament
- Jesus Film in their own language: Available
- Christian broadcasts in their own language: None
- Mission agencies working among this people: 5
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 62,600 (34%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 121,600 (66%)
- Country: India
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 163
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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