Introduction / History
The Eravallan are a small, indigenous people who live in the south Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The Eravallan have isolated themselves from other south Indian peoples due the remote places where they live. They were traditionally nomadic hunter-gatherers but in recent times have settle down to live in villages. The Eravallan are a Scheduled Tribe meaning they are eligible for public jobs and special status for university admissions.
Where Are they Located?
Most Eravallan are unable to read and write. Some have resisted the Indian government’s plan to integrate them into mainstream culture. The Eravallan are fearful if they allow government schools and programs into to their villages that they will lose their unique way of life. The government has set up primary schools in the Eravallan villages hoping to educate the children in the Tamil language. Up until a few years ago, linguists considered the language of the Eravallan to be a dialect of Tamil. Now Eravallan has been reclassified at a distinct language. There is no script for the Eravallan language. Some Eravallan can speak standard Tamil. Many Christian resources are available in Tamil but none as of yet in Eravallan.
The Hindu Eravallan people live in the southern tip of India. Most of them live in remote areas of the Western Ghat Mountains.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The primary occupation of the Eravallan is agriculture although they still hunt animals for food and roam the forests and hills looking for edible plants.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Eravallan live much like their ancestors without the amenities of electricity, indoor plumbing or modern medicine. Their lives are short compared to most Indian peoples. They are one of the most impoverished groups of people in south India. Some Eravallan work on tea and coffee plantations. Some Eravallan own small plots of land where they grow coconuts, palm trees, rice, and vegetables.
The Eravallan live in houses made of wood and mud. A village elder makes the main decisions for the village and settles legal disputes. The Eravallan marry within their group. Monogamy or marriage to one spouse is the norm.
The Eravallan have their own festivals, clothing, dances, and music which they have passed down for many generations.
The official religion of the Eravallan is Hinduism but a devout, educated Hindu would consider them more animistic than Hindu. The Eravallan believe that spirits inhabit the forces of nature. These spirits and their ancestors must be appeased or they can bring disasters upon the people. A village shaman serves as physician and the mediator with the spirit world. The Eravallan utilize magic, spells, charms, and rituals to try to bring good fortune.
What Are Their Needs?
As an isolated tribal people, the Eravallan have many physical and spiritual needs. Solar panels can bring them electricity. Modern medicine would improve their health and increase their lifespans. A team of linguists could create an alphabet for their language. Most of all, the Eravallan need to hear and understand the message of Jesus Christ. He alone can get them right with the one, true God and deliver them from their fear of evil spirits.
* Scripture Prayers for the Eravallan in India.
* Pray for Eravallan families of believers loving and serving others to grow reproducing churches.
* Pray for a chain reaction of Eravallan families reaching families that results in thousands of new believers who share their faith with others.
* Pray for grace and truth expanding into the entire Eravallan society as all believers learn to love others.
* Pray that churches and believers will bless the entire Eravallan people group in such a way that God’s love will change them like yeast changes dough.