Introduction / History
It is estimated that the first inhabitants arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century B.C. from northern India. Buddhism was introduced circa 250 B.C. In the 14th century, a south Indian dynasty established a Tamil kingdom in northern Sri Lanka. The Portuguese controlled the coastal areas of the island in the 16th century, and the Dutch in the 17th century. The island was united under British rule by 1815. It became independent in 1948 with the name of Ceylon; its name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972.
Where Are they Located?
Though there are two major ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, there are minor ones as well. The Agamudaiyans were once an extremely wealthy warrior/land-holding class that migrated to Sri Lanka from what is now southern India. In India they had vast tracts of land as rewards for winning military victories for the king. On April 29, 1789, they swept the British from Kollangudi in southern India. Legends said that these warriors could kill tigers with no weapons. In Sri Lanka, these people no longer have high status.
Most people from the Agamudaiyan people live in India, but there are some in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is an island country lying in the Indian Ocean, separated from southern India by the Palk-Strait.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Many Agamudaiyan people live in rural areas. They grow tea, sugar, cinnamon, and rubber as sources of income. Some are involved with the textile industry. Many who are city dwellers work in tourism.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The literacy rate in Sri Lanka is 90 percent, so this people group has the opportunity to get an education. Agamudaiyan primarily speak, read and write Tamil. Their second language is Malayalam. Both of these languages are spoken by more people in India than in Sri Lanka. Many Christian resources are available in these languages, including the complete Bible, audio Bible, and the JESUS Film.
The Agamudaiyan people favor cross-cousin marriages, and they avoid marrying individuals outside of their ethnic group. Upon the death of the father, property goes to the sons, the oldest son being in charge of the estate. Unlike many Hindu groups they bury their dead rather than cremate them. They have traditional caste councils that settle disputes.
Agamudaiyan people are almost exclusively Hindu. Most believe that Christianity is foreign and evangelism is unethical. Specific information regarding the religious practices of the Agamudiyan people is unavailable. In general, Hindus are pragmatic in their spiritual beliefs, offering worship to gods in exchange for benefits rather than out of love or devotion.
What Are Their Needs?
Agamudaiyan people who leave Sri Lanka to work abroad are subjected to hardships and abuses. Many women endure the risk to send money home. Their absence is very difficult on the children they leave behind. They need to be able to earn an adequate living in Sri Lanka.
* Scripture Prayers for the Agamudaiyan unspecified in Sri Lanka.
Pray that the hardships suffered by Agamudaiyan people in Sri Lanka will result in them looking to Jesus for answers.
Pray for a disciple making movement to emerge among the Agamudaiyan people in Sri Lanka and India.
Pray against powers and principalities that heavily influence the very religious culture of the Agamudaiyan people.
Profiles written by Karen Hightower of Global Prayer Digest