The Konkanese of India
India is a complex mosaic of ethnic, linguistic, religious, and social groupings. Because of this diversity, it is extremely difficult to adequately describe any single people group. Ranking second only to China among the world's most populous countries, India has a population of more than 935,000,000. The overall population density is about 762 people per square mile.
India may be divided into four main regions: the Himalayas, the northern river-plains region, the Deccan Plateau, and the Eastern and Western Ghats Mountains. Because of its numerous geographical features, climatic conditions are also widely diversified on both a seasonal and regional basis, ranging from tropical to temperate extremes.
The five million Konkanese are located mainly in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Kerala. Their language, Konkani, is a member of the Indo-Aryan language family. Little is known about their specific lifestyle and culture.
What are their lives like?
About 73% of India's population lives in rural areas and is engaged in some form of agricultural activity. Many are farmers who barely grow enough to survive. Their farms are extremely small and often very fragmented. The raising of livestock, particularly horned cattle, buffalo, horses, and mules, is a central feature of the economy. Because of Hindu influence, however, these animals are used almost exclusively as beasts of burden rather than sources of meat.
Indian culture is primarily Hindu-oriented. Many Hindu institutions, including the rigid caste (social class) system, have wide-ranging effects on Indian society. The word "caste" basically means breed, race, or kind. Indian society is divided into hierarchical castes that are usually endogamous (marriage only within the caste). Castes may be defined by occupation or by kinship and lineage, although there are some exceptions. Nevertheless, caste is so fundamental to the social organization of India that it prevails in all parts, except some of the tribal populations.
Not enough is known about the Konkanese to accurately place them in the caste system; thus, their particular lifestyle cannot be adequately described. We do know, however, that some of them are Brahmans (Hindu priests); others are fishermen; and still others are servants. Further research is needed to clearly identify the Konkanese so that they can be reached with the Gospel.
What are their beliefs?
The Konkanese are 99% Hindu and follow the basic Hindu customs and traditions. The term "Hinduism" came into use about A.D.1200, but clearly identifying what Hindus believe is difficult. The religion has no founder, no prophet, and no instructional structure. It is a way of life much more than a theology; it is a philosophy more than a religion. Contrary to popular belief in the West, Hinduism is not an ancient, fixed set of beliefs. Rather, it is a body of customs, practices, and beliefs that go through major changes every few hundred years.
The majority, though not all, of Hindus believe in a supreme being. Some respect all life and eat only vegetables, while others will gladly eat meat from sacrifices in the temple. To some, their religion is highly personal; to others, it is impersonal. While most Hindus worship Brahman (the creator), Shiva (the destroyer), Vishnu (the preserver), and the goddess Shaktri, they also worship a pantheon of other minor gods, their incarnations, spouses, or offspring. A belief in reincarnation (continuous cycle of death and rebirth) is one of the few unifying features of Hinduism.
What are their needs?
The Konkanese have both the Jesus film and Christian broadcasts available in their own language. There is also a missions agency targeting this group of people. However, only 1% of the Konkanese are Christians. This small number of believers need a translation of the Bible in their own language to encourage and strengthen them in their walk with the Lord. Intercession is the first step towards seeing them reached with the Gospel.
- Ask the Lord of the harvest to send full-time missionaries to live and work among the Konkanese.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom, favor, and creativity to the missions agency that is targeting the Konkanese.
- Pray that the person of Jesus will be revealed to the Konkanese as they view the Jesus film.
- Ask God to anoint the Gospel as it goes forth via radio in their area.
- Pray that God will raise up qualified linguists to translate the Bible into the Konkani language.
- Pray that signs and wonders will follow the Konkanese believers as they share Christ with their own people.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Konkanese bound.
- Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Konkanese church to the glory of His name!
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Konkanese
- Country: India
- Their language: Konkani
- Largest religion:
- Christians: 1%
- Church members: 50,581
- Scriptures in their own language: None
- Jesus Film in their own language: Available
- Christian broadcasts in their own language: Available
- Mission agencies working among this people: 1
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 1,618,600 (32%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 3,439,500 (68%)
- Country: India
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 163
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
This profile may be copied and distributed without obtaining permission
as long as it is not altered, bound, published
or used for profit purposes.