Introduction / History
Most likely the Andh people originated from the Satavahanas Dynasty, which lasted from the second century BC through the early third century AD. This Satavahanas kingdom straddled modern day Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra. The Satavahanas king claimed all the forests and good land in this region until it was taken over by the East India Company during British colonial days. The Andh people had very little wealth during this time. The Andh people are among what the Indian government calls the "scheduled tribes. " Because scheduled tribes are underdeveloped, the Indian government has attempted to bring them into the mainstream of political and economic life. In 1949, tribes were "scheduled" for special treatment. Most still live mainly in the three states, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra. They are most likely to be found in the Adilabad District of Andhra Pradesh, though they also live in four other districts of this state. Their language is Marathi, the primary language of Maharashtra.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Scheduled tribes like the Andh who practice crop rotation usually live near the plot of land they are cultivating. They clear the land by burning off its vegetation. They use simple tools to prepare the ground, then plant the crops. They select a new plot after the harvest. Their primary crops include grains and fruit. Sometimes they supplement their diet with forest produce. Others earn extra income by hiring themselves out as farm laborers. The basic unit of Andh society is the family. One key aspect of their communities involve marriage customs. Most scheduled tribes are endogamous, which means that they only marry within their own social groups. The young people are free to choose their own marriage partners, although many still seek parental advice. A few of the tribes still require a bride price for the girl's family. Sometimes it is very costly involving a great amount of work and sacrifice on the part of the groom's family to accumulate enough funds. The clan is next to the family in terms of importance for the Andh people. A clan is composed of several families who are the descendants of a common ancestor. All members of the clan join together to help the family in need when there is a death. Many clans often work together as a single unit to make the best use of their farmland and family property.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Scheduled tribes like the Andh people have been heavily influenced by their more powerful Hindu neighbors. As a result, they have given up a number of their traditional customs and now imitate many Hindu customs, particularly those of the Brahmins (highest caste of Hindu priests and scholars). Although many remnants of their ethnic religions are evident, the tribes are considered Hindu. By it's nature, Hinduism is flexible enough to allow for ancient ethnic religious practices to continue without someone being considered to be outside the Hindu sphere. This greatly adds to the diversity of Hinduism since most ethnic groups have their own religious traditions.
What Are Their Needs?
All scheduled tribes need practical help, especially in the areas of agriculture, education and health care. Medical supplies and qualified doctors and nurses are severely lacking in the remote areas. Perhaps Christian teachers and medical teams will have opportunities to show these precious Andh people the love of Jesus in practical ways.
Pray for the Andh culture to be renewed and enhanced by a work of the Holy Spirit and shaped into a God-centered and God-honoring mold. Pray for the Holy Spirit to move among Andh family and community leaders to seek his face and enjoy His blessings. Pray for the Lord to thrust out workers who will be compelled to nurture a movement to Christ among the Andh people. Pray that soon the Andh people will have faith that will lead them to live honorable lives that will draw others to the Savior.
Scripture Prayers for the Andh in India.