Introduction / History
The Vathiriyan community is one of the low to middle status Scheduled Caste communities according to the Tamil Nadu Gazette. Their primary language is Tamil. Their community has well defined branches and sub-branches. Originally there were only seven branches which are treated as the original main branches. The Vathiriyan people live in southern India, mostly in state of Tamil Nadu. Many Vathiriyan have now settled in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. In search of jobs and education, Vathiriyan people have migrated in large numbers to Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Salem, and Vellore. Smaller numbers are found in Hyderabad and Mumbai.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The traditional job of the Vathiriyan is weaving. Due to migration, education and globalization, this occupation has declined. This is one of the rare communities where they follow the clan system through the mother’s side, though it is not a matrilineal society.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The majority of the Vathiriyan are Hindu. Along with the Nadar community, some Vathiriyan have responded to Protestant and Catholic missionary work. According to one source, half of them are either Protestant or Catholic Christians. It is reported that as many as 20 percent may be evangelicals. One report says, "This community cannot be taken as an unreached community. Almost 100% of them know the gospel, though only 50% are Christians. Over 50 are found in full time ministry and most of them are theological graduates. This community has produced at least one bishop. One of the bishops of Evangelical Church of India (ECI) is from this community. Missionaries used education and vocational training as a tool for economic upliftment. A number of them are engineers, medical doctors, teachers, etc. They have a 70% literacy rate, which is high for similar people of their place in the caste system.
What Are Their Needs?
The Vathiriyan people need to share the blessings God has given them with other communities. They would benefit by learning new job skills and getting higher education.
* Scripture Prayers for the Vathiriyan (Hindu traditions) in India.
Pray for a desire that will give the Hindu Vathiriyan people a willingness to listen to their Christian neighbors. Pray for a disciple making movement among the Vathiriyan people this decade. Pray for the Lord to send out trained pastors who can teach the Vathiriyan the Word of God.