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Introduction / History
Among the Tibeto-Burman Koch there are two groups in Bangladesh: the Tintekiya and the Chapra. The Titekiya, whose name means "three pieces of clothing" and comes from their traditional dress, live in about 19 villages. The Chapra live in only three villages, and in each they are the minority. The Koch of Bangladesh live in a small pocket of land along the Indian border in northwestern Dhaka division. These Koch speak a Tibeto-Burman language, and this distinguishes them from a much larger group of Koch (sometimes spelled Cooch) who speak an Indo-Aryan language. There are also some Koch living in Gazipur near Dhaka. These people's ancestors apparently spoke a Tibeto-Burman variety of Koch, but today these people speak Bangla as their mother tongue. They have little or no communication with the Koch living in Bangladesh's northwestern Dhaka division, but they do still share some cultural traits. The Koch communities live in India, Nepal and Bangladesh.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Both the Tintekiya and the Chapra Koch are primarily farmers, with some farming their own land and most working as hired day laborers for neighboring Bengalis. They continue to live primarily in Koch villages in simple homes with mud walls and floors and thatched or corrugated tin roofs.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Within Bangladesh the Tibeto- Burman Koch generally continue to follow their traditional "Sonaton" religion, though some say they are Hindu. Some Koch speakers in Bangladesh have embraced Islam.
What Are Their Needs?
The Koch are poor and uneducated. A Christian education and/or community development organization could possibly be a real blessing to the Koch. At the same time, it seems the Koch tend to equate Christianity with opportunities for education and health care and are in great need of someone to share true Christianity with them.
Pray for the Lord to provide for their physical and spiritual needs as a testimony of his power and love. Pray that the Koch people will have a spiritual hunger that will open their hearts to the King of kings. Pray for workers who are driven by the love and boldness of the Holy Spirit to go to them. Pray for a movement to Christ among them to begin this decade.
Scripture Prayers for the Koch (Hindu traditions) in Bangladesh.