Introduction / History
Little is known about the history of the Koli people, and there is conflicting information about their origins. There are several Koli subgroups. After the Partition of 1947, many Muslim Koli left India for Pakistan and Hindu Koli left Pakistan for India.
Where Are they Located?
The Koli people of Pakistan speak the Sindhi language. A complete Bible and the JESUS film are available in Sindhi, the main language of the Koli. Many rural Koli are unable to read and write so the gospel will need to be presented to them in oral and visual forms.
The Koli people live in the Sindh province of southeast Pakistan.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The traditional occupation of the coastal Koli is fishing, although many are now employed in schools and government offices. Other Koli people work in agriculture. As landless sharecroppers, they raise cotton, wheat, rice, sugarcane, corn, and oil seeds. The biggest problem for the farmers is the control of the water supply. There is little rain in many areas where the Koli live so there crops need irrigated water. The Koli tribes living in the eastern portion of the Thar Desert raise goats, sheep, cattle, and camels. Camels are their main type of transportation. Life is hard for the Thar Koli people, especially the women who must collect firewood and clean water each day.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Koli people exhibit a vivid array of colors in their paintings and other artistic designs. Some live in simple houses with thatched roofs, mud walls, and dirt floors; others live in decorative homes with tiled roofs, brick walls, and paved or cement floors.
Most of the Koli people live in poverty. Their social status is considered low, but not "impure." Their spiritual poverty is most desperate.
The Sindh Koli people are Sunni, the largest branch of Islam. They try to obey the teachings of the Koran and the prophet Mohammad. They believe that by following the Five Pillars of Islam that they will attain heaven when they die. However, Allah, the supreme God of the universe, determines who enters paradise. Sunnis pray five times a day facing Mecca. They fast the month of Ramadan. They attend mosque services on Friday. If a Muslim has the means, he or she will make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in his or her lifetime. Muslims are also prohibited to drink alcohol, eat pork, gamble, steal, use deceit, slander, and make idols.
What Are Their Needs?
The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah. There are currently no known believers among the Koli.
Many Koli do not have access to clean water. Most do not enjoy the benefits of modern medicine. Their children need schools to learn how to read and write. Most of all, the Koli need to hear and understand the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. Isa is the living, spiritual water come down from heaven.
Pray for workers needed to sow God's Word into Sindh Koli families, healing and strengthening households with God's blessings.
Pray that God will overthrow spiritual forces of darkness opposing the spread of His gospel among the Koli.
Pray that many of the Koli people will come to love God with their whole being and will walk in His ways.
Scripture Prayers for the Koli of Sind (Muslim traditions) in Pakistan.