Vellalan Pattanavan in India

Vellalan Pattanavan
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Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Vellalan Pattanavan
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 11,000
World Population: 11,000
Primary Language: Tamil
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Forward Caste - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

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 Vellalans made up the majority of government leaders and administrators in south India during the British Raj period. Lower castes began calling themselves Vellalans and acting like them in order to gain their high status.

Where Are they Located?

All Vellalans originally came from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Some migrated to other south Indian states such as Kerala and Karnataka. Some have moved to the island nation of Sri Lanka. As for the Pattanavan community, they have stayed in Tamil Nadu where they speak the Tamil language.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Today the Pattanavan 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 Vellalan encourage their children to attend universities and gain graduate degrees.

The Pattanavan Vellalan are endogamous, that is they marry within their families and clans. Vellalans often marry their cousins. Sons inherit property from their parents. Most prefer to use their own priests rather than Brahmins in important life ceremonies.

What Are Their Beliefs?

As far as we know, all Pattanavan Vellalans are Hindus. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. The Pattanavan Vellalan people worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Many Vellalan 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 Vellalans 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 Pattanavan Vellalan people visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods.

The main yearly holidays of the Vellalan people are Holi, the festival of colors, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn, and Rama Navami, Rama's birthday.

What Are Their Needs?

The Pattanavan Vellalans 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.

Prayer Points

Pray for God's kingdom to come and His will to be done among the Pattanavan Vellalan people.
Pray for a movement of Pattanavan Vellalan households to study the Bible and accept the blessings of Christ.
Pray for a spiritual hunger that will drive the Vellalan peoples to Jesus.
Pray for South Indian workers who are filled with the fruit and the power of the Holy Spirit to go to and tell the Pattanavan Vellalan people about Jesus.

Text Source:   Keith Carey