Muthuvan in India

The Muthuvan have only been reported in India
Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge
* From latest India census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.

Expanded PDF Profile

Introduction / History

Muthuvan must have migrated from the plains most likely from Madurai. The root word Muthuku means the back of the body. It is said that when they migrated to the hills they carried their children and their belongings on the back. Even today, Muthuvan carry their children on their back.

The Muthuvan people live on the border hill forests of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. There are two different groups among the Muthuvan and they speak slightly two different dialects. Hence they call each other as Malyalam Muthuvan and Pandi Muthuvan.


What Are Their Lives Like?

The Muthuvan huts are made of reeds and thatched with its leaves. Some house walls are paneled with wooden branches and mud applied on it. The huts have two separations, one for cooking and common uses and the other for sleeping. They use the forest and brooks for bathrooms. The government has offered a special grant for these people to build houses, but most of them do not make use of it out of lack of vision for improving the living conditions.

Ragi and rice are their staple food. In addition to ragi rice and tapioca, they also eat meat of birds and lizard. Drinking liquor was not accepted traditionally. They have learned drinking from outsiders. Chewing pan is an accepted habit. Muthuvan gather food and forest products. Honey, natural spices and some wildflowers called pathiri are the commonly available products.

Some Muthuvan cultivate rice, ragi, banana, and maze. They also grow cash crops such as ginger, pepper, cardamom, beetle-nuts and lemongrass. More often the local traders and merchants reap the real benefits of their harvests. In times of emergencies, they run to local merchants who give them advances thereby buying the rights of their next harvest. Muthuvan are short-sighted. They live on a daily basis. Since they do not know how to bargain, they are the losers. This keeps them in consistent poverty.

Muthuvan do not generally go to any hospitals. They have traditional medicines which are very effective. The medicines and the medicine men are confidentially preserved and passed on to the generations. They have herbal solutions for every disease and health needs.

The law and order in the community is handled by a council of elders under the leadership of the Kani, the headman. The elders select the kani. They have various penal codes for breaking their traditions and moral standards.

For primary education they have a single school with a single hut classroom which will house all the students up to 4th classes, handled by a single teacher. The teacher and the students enjoy the freedom of choosing the subjects and hours of study! Students above the 4th grade will be sent to tribal hostels and tribal schools away in the block or district headquarters. But once they go home for vacation, few of them return to the hostels. The unfamiliar lifestyle and schedule at the hostel, being away from the parents and the village, missing all the cultural and social freedom, all these make them quit the hostels. This keeps them from gaining the literacy they need to function in modern India.


What Are Their Beliefs?

Like any other tribals, Muthuvan are animists and spirit worshippers. They worship the forest gods, the spirit of their ancestors who are believed to be the first migrants to the hill forests. Now a days, the Hindu gods and goddesses of the plains are also being worshipped, one of the effect of cultural infiltration.

When the dead are buried, the Muthuvan pray to the dead to protect the living they have left behind. Death on Saturdays is special. Pongal is the main festivals observed by the Muthuvan community.


What Are Their Needs?

It is important that someone goes to them and teaches them write and read their own language. Literacy and education can change their lives and the powers of exploitation and bondage. Knowledge can broaden their minds to the future and start thinking of a life of tomorrow. Wisdom can open their hearts to think of lives beyond the hills and the nature.


Prayer Points

Pray for them to understand and respond to Christ.

Pray God will have mercy on the Muthuvan, doing whatever it takes to place them in a position to receive him.

Ask God to open the hearts of the Muthuvan to the gospel.

Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among them.


Scripture Prayers for the Muthuvan in India.


References

Philipose Vaidyar, Copyrighted © Used with permission


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  
Expanded PDF Profile

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2007-09-25
People Name General Muthuvan
People Name in Country Muthuvan
Population this Country 29,000
Population all Countries 29,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Mudugar; Muduvan; Muthuvar; Muthvan; मुतुवन
People ID 17718
ROP3 Code 113061
Country India
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 10  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 4
Largest States
Kerala
28,000
Tamil Nadu
500
Karnataka
400
Delhi
90
Districts Interactive map, listing and data download
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country India
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 10  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 4
  Kerala 28,000
  Tamil Nadu 500
  Karnataka 400
  Delhi 90
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Malayalam (15,000 speakers)
Language Code mal   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 5
Secondary Languages
Tamil
8,400
Muthuvan
1,300
Telugu
90
Kannada
20
Primary Language Malayalam (15,000 speakers)
Language Code mal   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 5
Secondary Languages
  Tamil 8,400
  Muthuvan 1,300
  Telugu 90
  Kannada 20
People Groups Speaking Malayalam

Primary Language:  Malayalam

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1811-1968)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1829-1995)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1841-2022)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Love letter to you from scripture Father's Love Letter
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Online New Testament Faith Comes by Hearing
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Following Jesus video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video God's Story video God's Story
Film / Video Indigitube.tv Video / Animation Create International
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Malayalam Jesus Film Project
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
Film / Video Magdalena video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video My Last Day video, anime Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children Jesus Film Project
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
General Biblical answers to your questions Got Questions Ministry
General Four Spiritual Laws Campus Crusade for Christ
General Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
0.33 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
99.36 %
Islam
0.08 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.01 %
Unknown
0.22 %
* From latest India census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2022  Philipose Vaidyar  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
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. Read more