Introduction / History
The Devadiga are a Hindu people who live in southwest India. Their names come from words that mean, "servant of a god." Like their name suggests, the traditional occupation of the Devadiga was assisting Brahmins in temples as helpers and musicians. The Devadiga clean and maintain the temples. The Devadiga are also known for a special type of folk dance they perform. The Devadiga are a Scheduled Caste, meaning that they are eligible for special consideration for public jobs and university admission.
Where Are they Located?
Today most Devadiga are involved in agriculture. They grow rice, wheat, lentils, vegetables, sugarcane and coconuts on their own and sometimes others' land.
The primary languages of the Devadiga are Tulu, Goan Konkani and Kannada. The Devadiga have demanded for many years that Tulu be given a national language status and for the state of Tulu Nadu be formed.
The large majority of the Devadiga live in the south Indian state of Karnataka. A smaller group lives in Maharashtra.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Devadiga follow a matrilineal system of inheritance where inheritance is from uncle to nephew through their mothers according to Wikipedia. The males are the custodians are the property but the women own the land.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Devadiga marry within their caste but not with their own clan or gotra. Families arrange marriages. Brahmins officiate at their important life ceremonies such as births, weddings and funerals.
The Devadiga are not vegetarians but as Hindus they do not eat beef. Their main foods are rice, wheat, dairy products and vegetables.
The Devadiga practice Hinduism influenced by folk religion. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Their five main deities are Shiva, the destroyer, Vishnu, the preserver, Surya, the sun god, Durga, the mother goddess, and Ganesh, the god of good fortune and wisdom. The Devadiga believe that spirits inhabit everyday objects and these spirits must be appeased.
What Are Their Needs?
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 Devadiga visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers and incense to their gods.
The main yearly holidays of the Devadiga people are Holi, the festival of colors, Diwali, the festival of lights and Navratri, the celebration of autumn.
The Devadiga need to hear and understand the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. They must see that their gods and rituals will not forgive their sins. The Devadiga would benefit by seeing Christians living out their faith before them.
* Pray for a movement to Jesus would multiply among Devadiga families and communities.
* Pray that God sends Christian workers to befriend and serve Devadiga families.
* Ask the Lord to raise up and send out a new generation of fruitful, multiplying witnesses from among the Devadiga people.