Sounti in India

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Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Sounti
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 136,000
World Population: 136,000
Primary Language: Odia
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 0.10 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Tribal - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Sounti people are one of the 46 scheduled tribes of Orissa in East Central India. The word "Sounti" comes from the word Sounta and means "gathered." From 16 main tribes, they, alone, have received recognition. They are known for living peacefully with other tribes.

It has been said that many were outcasts from Oriya castes. Their number became larger very quickly; they willingly received other outcasts.

Where Are they Located?

Sounti people live in Orissa.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Sounti people speak, read, and write mainly in Oriya, though many are illiterate. They have a traditional local council. They share wells with their neighbors. They have their own healthcare but they also use modern medicine. Sounti people work primarily in agriculture. Women do housework and are laborers. They have festivals and enjoy music and dance. They only marry within their social group. They are not vegetarians and rice is their main cereal. They have one spouse, and divorce is allowed. Inheritance is intended for males, and the oldest son becomes the leader of the family.

What Are Their Beliefs?

They are mostly Hindus, and follow local traditions.

What Are Their Needs?

They have a low literacy level requiring audio and visual resources which are available, including the printed New Testament in the Oriya language. Someone needs to take these resources to the Sounti people in this predominantly Hindu culture.

Prayer Points

Pray that long-term workers will be sent to Orissa to earn confidence of Sounti people.
Pray that doors will open for Scripture resources to be used to reach Sounti people with the truth of the gospel.
Pray that Sounti people will begin to question the nature of the gods they have worshipped for centuries.

Text Source:   Karen Hightower