Introduction / History
Alavan or Alagar is small group of Hindu people who live in the south Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The Alavan believe that they are descendants of the Chola Dynasty which reached its height in the 11th century. This classification makes the Alavan Rajputs or Kshatriyas, the second highest caste in Hinduism. The Alavan are one of the most powerful and best educated groups of south India. The two main languages of the Alavan are Tamil and Malayalam. They also speak English, Hindi and local languages. Many resources are available in Tamil and Malayalam. There are currently no known followers of Jesus Christ in this people group.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Alavan work as administrators, in education, in the professions, computer science, and in the entertainment industry. They tend to marry within their group. Monogamy or marriage to one spouse is the rule. Parents encourage their sons and daughters to attend and graduate from universities. The Alavan help build and fund Hindu temples in south India.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Alavan practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. The Alavan pay special devotion to Vishnu, the preserver god, and his consort, Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and purity. 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 Alavan visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hopes of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods as Christians do. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. The main yearly holidays of the Alavan people are Holi, the festival of colors and the start of spring, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn and Rama Navami, Rama’s birthday. The Alavan celebrate their main holiday of Chithirai in the spring of each year. Chithirai commemorates Vishnu’s giving of his sister to Shiva as his consort. The caste system divides Hindus into four main categories - Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and the Shudras. Dalits and tribal peoples are outside of the caste system. The Alavan consider themselves to be Kshatriyas.
What Are Their Needs?
The Alavan are proud of their history and position in Hinduism. Pride can keep a person from seeing that he or she is a sinner in need of a savior. The Alavan need to see that Jesus is not just one of the many gods of the Hindu pantheon.
* Scripture Prayers for the Alavan in India.
Ask the Lord to humble the Alavan and see themselves as sinners. Pray for a disciple making movement among the Alavan people this decade. Pray for the Lord to send out educated Indian believers to the Alavan and will tell them about Jesus and His love for them.