Introduction / History
Gond people live in the forests and hills of Bangladesh as well as central India. They generally refer to themselves as Koi or Koya, which means mountain people. Historically, Gond people were the most important group of original tribes in South Asia. In the 1500s, several Gond dynasties were established and the Gond rajas, or kings, ruled like Hindu princes until they were conquered by Muslim armies in 1592. In the 1700s, the Gond lost all power to the Maratha kings, who forced them to flee into the hills.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Traditionally, the Gond people were semi-nomadic farmers, who used the slash and burn method of agriculture. After farming an area for two or three years they would abandon their houses, move to a different location, and make new land clearings. Most of the Gond farmers have now been forced by the government to change their methods of farming to preserve the forests. As a result, there are more permanent Gond villages. Many farmers have prospered, acquiring a higher social standing due to their change to plow cultivation. Unfortunately, some of the families have struggled with this change in culture, going into debt to purchase bulls for tilling.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Most Gond people survive by farming, hunting and eating the fruits of the forests. The local markets provide a place where they can trade their goods, as well as communicate with other ethnic people. They do not make their own clothes or jewelry, purchasing them from neighboring groups.
Gond villages are intended to be communal, territorial units. The tribe is headed by a chief, and each village is led by a committee of elders. The chief serves as the judge of all tribal disputes, while the elders have legal authority over their villages. Unfortunately, their great poverty and lack of education have left Gond people politically powerless.
Gond society is basically male-dominated, and line of descent is traced through the males. The tribe is divided into clans, each of which represents the descendants of a common male ancestor. Gond people do not marry within their own clans. Gonds prefer cross-cousin marriages and they don't discourage a man from having multiple spouses. All members of the tribe have a strong bond between them. Though individuals are personally free yet they are bound to defend freedom of one another. Liberty, equality, and brotherhood are the main principles of the tribe.
Most Gond people are Hindus, worshiping millions of gods and goddesses. Some are animists, believing that non-living objects have spirits. They are convinced that the forest is the dwelling place of the gods and ancestral spirits, and they fear them. The most important gods and goddesses are enshrined under trees and represented by flat stones. Villagers pray to ancestral spirits for protection and blessings. Although Gond people do not believe in the immortality of the soul, they do believe in reincarnation, meaning that one soul will pass to another body after death.
What Are Their Needs?
The JESUS Film and the New Testament are available in the Koi Gondi language. However, there are only a few known Gond believers. Prayer is the key to seeing them reached with the gospel. Their great need is to understand that there is one Almighty God, who laid down His life to pay the full penalty for all their sins so they may live with him eternally. They need to be delivered from bondage to evil spirits and false gods that dominate their lives.
* Scripture Prayers for the Gond in Bangladesh.
Pray for the Lord to soften the hearts of Gond leaders and family heads, sending broken-hearted ambassadors to help them begin a spiritual journey that will lead to a Gond movement to Christ in Bangladesh.
Pray for the Lord to reveal the hope of his son to Gond families and clans. Pray for an unstoppable Disciple Making Movement this decade.