The Kui of India
Over thousands of years, countless groups have migrated into the subcontinent of India, many of which have maintained their distinctive cultures. Today, more than 800 languages are spoken throughout the country, and the complex Hindu "caste" system has further divided the people into an endless number of social classes. The Kui are one such group.
The Kui inhabit the hilly Ghat region of Orissa State, eastern India. They are a subgroup of a Dravidian tribe known as the Kond, which literally means "mountaineers." They speak Kui, a Dravidian language.
It is believed that the Kond originally inhabited the richer coastal plains of eastern India before being driven away by Aryans. They are divided into three separate groups: the Bettiah Kond, who live in the plains below the Ghat; the Benniah Kond, who live in the foothills of the Ghat; and the largest group, the Maliah or Hill Kond, who live on the central plateau of the Ghat.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Kui are one of the "scheduled tribes" in India. This means that they formerly belonged to a class known as "the untouchables." When India became independent in 1947, "untouchability" was abolished by law. However, there have been no radical changes in the social attitudes of the people since that time. The Kui are still considered as outcasts, "untouchable" by the upper caste Hindus for fear of being polluted.
The Kui are primarily farmers. Rice is their staple food, and it is raised both wet and dry. They also grow corn, legumes, mustard seed (for oil), and a tropical plant called turmeric. The powdered stem of the turmeric plant is used as a condiment and as a yellow dye. Chickens, goats, and cattle are raised. Although Hinduism forbids that cows are eaten, the Kui sometimes slaughter their cattle for meat. They also use them for milk and for hauling heavy loads. Pigs are raised both for slaughter and for sacrifices. Wild boar, deer, and rabbits are also hunted and used to supplement their diets. A distilled liquor made from mahua blooms is a popular beverage. The farmers may also cut and sell hardwood trees for additional income.
Kui cooking is somewhat plain. It has none of the rich curries found in the typical Indian cuisine. Except for linseed oil, which is used to grease pots for cooking vegetables, oil is not used. However, oils are used on the skin and hair.
Typically, Kui homes are rectangular in shape, with wooden plank walls, dirt floors, and thatch roofs. The houses are usually shared with the farm animals. Doorposts keep the cattle from entering the family's sleeping quarters. The chickens and goats share a single inside area, and the pigs live in their own section of the house.
Village homes are generally built near the fields. The men prepare the hill plots for farming by clearing the land, moving large rocks, and leveling the wet paddy fields. Only the men are allowed to plow since it is considered taboo for women to even touch a plowshare. Both the young and the old watch the fields to protect them from birds and deer that might steal the rice seedlings.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Although more than half the Kui are Hindus, many also worship the gods of their ancestors. Their ethnic religion is based on a relationship between two gods in conflict. Buri is the male figure and Tari is the female figure. A Kui is usually loyal to either Buri or Tari. In times past, it is said that Tari demanded extensive human sacrifices; however, animal sacrifices are now made instead. The Kui also worship other, lesser gods, who are believed to regulate human affairs.
What Are Their Needs?
Five missions agencies are currently targeting the Kui, but their progress has been limited by the lack of evangelistic materials. Only about one percent of the Kui have given their lives to Jesus. Thousands of others have not yet heard the Truth. Prayer is the key to reaching them with the Gospel.
- Pray against the spirits of Hinduism and ethnic religions that are keeping the Kui bound.
- Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into India.
- Ask God to raise up prayer teams to break up the soil through intercession.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to the missions agencies that are targeting the Kui.
- Pray that the Lord will raise up other long term workers to join those who have already responded to the call to be a missionary.
- Ask God to speed the completion of the translation of the Jesus film and other evangelistic materials into the Kui language.
- Pray that God will reveal Himself to the Kui through dreams and visions.
- Pray that God will give the Kui believers boldness to share Christ with their own people.
- Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Kui Church for the glory of His name!
See also the following Kui groups:
the Kui of Thailand,
the Kui of Laos.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Kui
- Country: India
- Their language: Kui (Kandh)
- Largest religion:
- Christians: 1.1%
- Church members: 9,890
- Scriptures in their own language: New Testament
- Jesus Film in their own language: None
- Christian broadcasts in their own language: None
- Mission agencies working among this people: 5
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 315,600 (36%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 583,500 (64%)
- Country: India
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 163
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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