Introduction / History
Isai means music. Isai Vellalar is a relatively recent community identification for those who are part of one of the minstrel occupations usually involving music or dance for sacred purposes. They give their performances at Hindu temples. Commonly the men perform with drums or windpipes and the women dance. Many women from the notorious Devadasi community (dancers and sacred prostitutes) are associated with the Isai Vellalar community. Their ancestors were nomads. The Isai Vellalar live primarily in Tamil Nadu and speak, read and write in Tamil. The Isai Vellalar also live in Pondicherry.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Some of them are landowners, some are not. They work as musicians, cultivators and other work. There are professionals and politicians among them. They have a traditional caste council that looks after their interests. They usually marry their cousins. The bride's family pays a dowry to the groom's family. They allow for divorce and remarriage. They have large families. On the death of the father, the sons inherit the property with the oldest son becoming the new family head.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Hinduism is their religious and cultural affiliation. Spiritual beliefs of Hindus are very diverse from those who worship only one god to those who worship hundreds of them to those who are philosophical and do not worship any.
What Are Their Needs?
The Isai Vellalar people need to put their hope and their identity entirely in Jesus Christ, the one who offers life to the full.
* Scripture Prayers for the Vellalan Isai in India.
Pray that the council leaders will lead their people to a movement to Christ. Pray for spiritual openness and a willingness to accept salvation by grace alone. Pray for intercessors and workers.