Introduction / History
The Vellalar or Vellalan people of south India have a long and proud history. They served as the landed aristocracy, military officers and court officials in three great Tamil dynasties. They were patrons of Tamil literature and the arts. The Vellalars made up the majority of government leaders and administrators in south India during the British Raj period. Lower castes began calling themselves Vellalars and acting like them in order to gain their high status.
Where Are they Located?
The main language of the Vellalan is Tamil. They also speak other south Indian regional languages. A complete Bible and many Christian resources are available in Tamil.
All Vellalans originally came from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The Kongu subgroup remains there.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Today the Kongu Vellalans continue to be landowners, military officers, businesspersons, Tamil scholars, and Hindu temple patrons. They live at the highest levels of south Indian society. They take pride in their ancient Tamil heritage and are leading scholars in Tamil historical studies. The Vellalar encourage their children to attend universities and gain graduate degrees.
What Are Their Beliefs?
This particular subgroup has their own form of wedding ceremonies where they have a long wedding song. The sister of the groom and the brother of the bride play a big part in the wedding ceremony. Kongu Vellalans are endogamous, that is they marry within their own clans. Vellalars often marry their cousins. Sons inherit property from their parents. Most prefer to use their own priests rather than Brahmins in important life ceremonies.
The vast majority of Kongu Vellalars are Hindus. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. The Kongu Vellalar people worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Many Vellalar people follow a branch of Hinduism called Saiva Siddhantam. In this Hindu order adherents desire to be enlightened by Lord Shiva or Siva, one of the three main gods of Hinduism. Some Vellalars join monasteries and propagate the teachings of Shiva. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works that they will attain moksha or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The Kongu Vellalar visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods.
What Are Their Needs?
The main yearly holidays of the Vellalar people are Holi, the festival of colors, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn, and Rama Navami, Rama’s birthday.
The Kongu Vellalars need to hear the life-changing message of Jesus Christ in a way they can understand. They need to see themselves as sinners in need of the Savior. They need to see Christianity lived out in a real way before them. They need to realize that only the Lord Jesus Christ can meet their needs.
* Scripture Prayers for the Vellalan Kongu in India.
* Pray for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done among the Kongu Vellalar people.
* Pray for a movement of Kongu Vellalar households to study the Bible and accept the blessings of Christ.
* Pray for a spiritual hunger that will drive the Vellalar peoples to Jesus.
* Pray for South Indian workers who are filled with the fruit and the power of the Holy Spirit to tell the Kongu Vellalar people about Jesus.