Malayali in Myanmar (Burma)

Photo Source:  Anonymous 
Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Malayali
Country: Myanmar (Burma)
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 23,000
World Population: 1,643,600
Primary Language: Malayalam
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 34.00 %
Evangelicals: 7.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Tribal - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Two distinct groups of people from one geographically small area both claim the name Malayali. One group is from the southern Indian state of Kerala, and that is also the basis for name of the local language, Malayalam. The second group is a tribal people, and they have not moved around the world for better employment like the former group.

According to legend, in the late first century, the Apostle Thomas evangelized and performed miracles throughout southern India, specifically in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. That was the beginning of the Christian church in southern India.

In later years nearly all of the peoples of southern India were introduced to seafaring traders from other locations such as China, Southeast Asia, Eastern Africa and Europe. Some of these Europeans, such as the Dutch, enslaved groups like the Malayali to work on their plantations. That was the first Malayali “diaspora,” but there have been times since then when the Malayali went to other parts of the world for high paying jobs.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Malayali migrants to other parts of the world are often computer techies or businessmen. They are known for their intelligence and skills. Most move throughout the world for jobs that pay far better than the ones in India.

What Are Their Beliefs?

There is a strong Christian minority among the Malayali, but most practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. Hinduism is a catch-all phrase for the local religions of South Asia, so it is very diverse. At the popular level, Hindus worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. They visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hopes of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods like Christians or Jews. There are other Hindus who are much more philosophical, especially among the Brahmins.

Almost all Hindus participate in yearly celebrations like Holi, the festival of colors and the start of spring / Diwali, the festival of lights / Navratri, the celebration of autumn / and Rama Navami, Rama’s birthday.

What Are Their Needs?

Since the Malayalis are so accepting of other religions that there is a need for a change in their worldview in order for the gospel to be accepted as the one true way. They need to understand why Jesus is the name above every name.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Malayali people to understand and embrace the supremacy of Jesus Christ.

Pray that believers from other parts of South Asia will become determined to take Jesus Christ to the Malayali peoples in all Muslim countries.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to move in such a way that there is a strong disciple making movement among Malayali people wherever they live.

Text Source:   Joshua Project