Introduction / History
The Navithan or Ambattan or Maruthuvar live in south India. They traditional occupation was that of being physicians to kings and nobles. With the coming of the British and modern medicine they became hair cutters for the four castes of Hinduism. The Navithan are considered to be the lowest caste of the four main castes but they are barbers to the three castes above them. The Ambattan would not cut of the hair of a person outside the caste system such as Dalit or tribal person.
Where Are they Located?
Today the Navithan still work as hair cutters and as agricultural workers. University educated and Navithan have entered the professions of medicine, engineering and law. Some Navithan have opened beauty parlors in south Indian cities.
The primary language of the Navithan is Tamil.
The vast majority of the Navithan live in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Some also reside in Kerala, Maharashtra and other regions of India.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Most Navithan still live in villages and continue working as the village barbers and as farm laborers. Their lives are dominated by the Monsoon wet/dry seasons and the yearly Hindu holidays.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Navithan are not vegetarians. They eat meat except for beef. Their main food like most peoples of south India is rice. They also consume lentils, wheat, vegetables, fruit and dairy products.
Families arrange the marriages of young people. Navithan young people often marry their cousins. Both Brahmans and their own priests officiate at weddings. The newly married couple lives with or near the groom's parents. Upon the death of the father, the sons inherit his property. The Navithan cremate their dead except for young children who are buried.
The Navithan practice Hinduism the traditional, ancient religion of India. They worship and serve the many gods of the Hindu pantheon. The majority of the Navithan serve Shiva or Vishnu as their supreme deity. They visit and pray in Hindu temples where they offer food, flowers and incense to their gods. They also perform rituals to ward off evil spirits.
What Are Their Needs?
The Navithan participate in the annual Hindu holidays of Holi, the festival of colors, Diwali, the festival of lights and Navratri, the nine-day celebration of autumn.
The Navithan need to hear the life-changing message of Jesus Christ in a way they can understand. The Navithan who still live in villages would benefit by Christian workers who could help educate their children and provide modern medical care. The few Navithan who are Christians need to be trained and motivated to share the gospel with their brothers and sisters who are Hindus
* Scripture Prayers for the Navithan in India.
Pray that the Indian Christians who live in Tamil Nadu would reach out and share the gospel with the Navithan.
Pray the Navithan would be open to the gospel and be led to see the JESUS film in Tamil.
Pray that the Lord raises up Bible-believing churches in the Navithan community.