Divehi in India

Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Divehi
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 1,500
World Population: 3,500
Primary Language: Maldivian
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Muslim - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Divehi is the language of the Maldive Islands, which is a sovereign nation southwest of India in the Indian Ocean. Often Maldivians are called Divehi because of their language. Though most live in the Maldive Islands, some are making their living in Sri Lanka and India.

Where Are they Located?

Most Divehi people live in the stunningly beautiful Maldive Islands, but there is a sizable diaspora. Some live in Sri Lanka or India. Those in India usually live in various parts of Kerala in the southwest, or India's Lakshadweep Islands.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Divorce is a major problem in Divehi families no matter where they live. Such a situation causes tragic results for everyone in the family, especially the children.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Maldivian Divehi speakers are noted for being staunch, dogmatic Muslims. However, their loyalties are not to orthodox Islam, but to quirky forms of folk Islam. This means that they blend their Islam with various animistic beliefs. They have a fear of the "evil eye" (curses caused by a fixed gaze) and of evil spirits. They also fear jinnis, which are-according to Muslim legend-spirits capable of assuming human or animal form and exercising supernatural influence over people. Most houses keep a lamp burning all night and have no windows in order to keep out the jinnis.

To satisfy their spiritual hunger, many Maldivians consult fanditas ("learned people") who conduct rituals for healing, solving problems, and becoming successful. The fanditas make their occupations valid by using Islamic terms and chanting Arabic-sounding chants.

What Are Their Needs?

Believers can show these people, who almost all suffer the ill effects of divorce, what a Christian marriage can be like. They also need to be shown the way to the Savior who allows us to live in freedom from fear.

Prayer Points

Pray for a "Book of Acts" type of movement to Christ among the Divehi speakers in India, Sri Lanka and the Maldive Islands.
Pray for the Divehi people to understand and embrace that Jesus wants to bless their families and neighborhoods.
Pray for Holy Spirit anointed believers from the Divehi people to change their society from within.
Pray for a movement in which the Holy Spirit leads and empowers Divehi disciples to make more disciples.
Pray for a movement of Jesus to heal and strengthen Divehi communities.

Text Source:   Keith Carey