Korwa in Bangladesh

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge
* Data can be from various sources including official census, agencies, and local research. Data from these sources can sometimes differ even by orders of magnitude. Joshua Project attempts to present a conservative, balanced estimate.

Introduction / History

According to popular legend, the Korwa were the original inhabitants of the Surguja district in Madhya Pradesh. In the early 1900s they were leaders in the region and were dubbed as chiefs until more powerful and numerous conquerors invaded. They were later regarded as a wandering gang of looters. They formerly used slash and burn agriculture, moving every two or three years to cultivate newly cleared plots. Rice, millet and vegetables were the principal crops. Their income was supplemented by selling forest products, particularly firewood. There remain two very distinct Korwa tribes: the Diharia (or Kisan), who are farmers, and the Paharia (or Benwaria), who live in the hills. These two tribes do not intermarry. The Korwa people live in the hills, valleys and forests of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. A smaller number live in Bangladesh.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Korwa are primarily farmers. The geographical isolation of the Paharia Korwa (hills dwellers) and the lack of communication have reduced most of them to the position of farm servants. Few of them own their own land. A major portion of their farmlands has been mortgaged to the neighboring tribal and non-tribal communities. Korwa farmers seldom have agricultural surplus to take to market. When they do go to market, cunning merchants often take advantage of their lack of education and illiteracy, buying their products at absurdly low prices and making them loans at extremely high interest rates. The plains dwellers live in villages that are mixed with other tribal groups. Wooden or bush fences surround their farms or homesteads. The Korwa who live in the hills still lead a semi-nomadic lifestyle. The family is the basic social unit among the Korwa. They have a traditional family structure in which the father's word is law and is respected by all. Men and women are free to choose their own marriage partners, but the groom's family must pay a heavy bride price. Newlywed couples live with the grooms' parents until they are able to set up their own households. Men usually marry later in life because they have no means of supporting a family.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Most are ethnic religionists who have been heavily influenced by Hinduism. Their main tribal god is called Dulha Deo. Those who live in the Surguja district worship Khuria Rani, a goddess who requires animal sacrifices. They also practice ancestor worship, calling on the spirits of their ancestors for blessings and guidance. They regard fire as sacred. In fact, fires are kept burning 24 hours a day in their houses to keep evil spirits away.

What Are Their Needs?

The Korwa people need training in skills that will help them flourish in the decades to come.

Prayer Points

Pray for a "Book of Acts" type of movement to Christ among the Korwa people. Pray for the Korwa people to understand and embrace that Jesus wants to bless their families and neighborhoods. Pray for Holy Spirit anointed believers from the Korwa people to change their society from within. Pray for a spiritual hunger that will lead the Korwa people to the cross.

Scripture Prayers for the Korwa in Bangladesh.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Korwa
People Name in Country Korwa
Alternate Names Arasamakkalu; Diharia Korwa; Dihariya; Erakala; Ernga; Gangedula; Jangali; Kaikadi; Kisan Korwa; Kodaku; Kormakar; Kormangta; Korua; Korvi; Singli; कोरवा
Population this Country 4,200
Population all Countries 546,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 17273
ROP3 Code 112644
ROP25 Code 304230
ROP25 Name Korwa
Country Bangladesh
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 26  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Country Bangladesh
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 26  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 1
  Sylhet 4,100
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent *
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
96.96 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
3.04 %
* From latest Bangladesh census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Primary Language Sylheti (3,400 speakers)
Language Code syl   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
Primary Language Sylheti (3,400 speakers)
Language Code syl   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
  Bengali 700
People Groups Speaking Sylheti
Photo Source Bethany World Prayer Center 
Map Source People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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