Introduction / History
The Agamudaiyan or Agamudayars were once soldiers and warriors in the kingdoms of south India. For their military service, they were rewarded with land. The name Agamudaiyan means "householder or landowner" in Tamil. The Agamudaiyan also guarded palaces and Hindu temples for the kings of south India. In a famous battle of 1789, they defeated an English-backed army that kept their land free from British control.
Where Are they Located?
Today most Agamudaiyan are agricultural workers. Some continue their military tradition by serving in the Indian army. Some Agamudaiyan own their land while others work on land owned by others. Educated Agamudaiyan have become lawyers, military officers, engineers, physicians, civil servants and politicians.
The vast majority of Agamudaiyan speak Tamil as their first language. Educated Agamudaiyan also speak English.
Most Agamudaiyan live in Tamil Nadu, their traditional home. A small number of them live in other south Indian states.
What Are Their Lives Like?
There is great diversity in the lives of the Agamudaiyan depending on their educational level. Those without a college education live much like their ancestors did, as farmers in the villages of Tamil Nadu. They grow rice, millet, lentils, vegetables and fruits. They raise animals for meat and dairy products. They are not vegetarians. However, as Hindus, will not eat beef. Those with a university education are business and governmental leaders in Tamil Nadu society.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Brahman priests lead important life ceremonies such as birth, weddings and funerals. Families arrange marriages. They prefer endogamous marriages, that is, within their caste and clan. Cousin marriages are common. After the wedding, the newly married couple will live with or near the groom's parents. Monogamy or marriage or one spouse is the general rule. Sons inherit their father's property.
Almost all Agamudaiyan practice Hinduism, the ancient religion and culture of India. They worship and serve the many gods of the Hindu pantheon. Shiva, the destroyer god, and Ganesha, the god of good fortune are given special attention by the Agamudaiyan. They bring offerings of food, flowers and incense to the Hindu temples of Tamil Nadu. They believe that Moksha or freedom from the endless cycles of death and rebirth can be achieved through rituals and good works.
What Are Their Needs?
The Agamudaiyan participate in the yearly Hindu holidays of Holi, the festival of colors, Diwali, the festival of lights and Navratri, the nine-day celebration of autumn.
The Agamudaiyan need to hear a clear presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ in a way they can understand. They need to see the love of Christ lived out before them. The few Christians among them need to be trained and motivated to share the good news with their brothers and sisters who have not heard.
* Scripture Prayers for the Agamudaiyan in India.
* Pray that this warrior people would become soldiers for Jesus Christ.
* Pray the Lord moves the Indian Christians of Tamil Nadu to befriend and reach out to the Agamudaiyan.
* Pray that Bible-believing churches would begin in the Agamudaiyan community.