Thandan Palakkad in India

Thandan Palakkad
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Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Thandan Palakkad
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 7,300
World Population: 7,300
Primary Language: Malayalam
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Hindu - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Palakkad is a subgroup of the Thandan, an agricultural caste from southeast India. During colonial times, the Thandan were residents of coconut and palm tree plantations. The men climb the trees and harvest the coconuts. They obtain palm sap, which is made into sugar and palm wine. The Thandan women take the palm leaves and make them into ropes and mats. Today, the Thandan still practice these professionals. They, for the most part, do not own the land that they work on.

The Thandan are classified as a Scheduled Caste meaning they are given public jobs and special university admissions. Their primary language is Malayalam. Many Christian resources are available in Malayalam.

Where Are they Located?

The Palakkad Thandan people live in Kerala, a state in southeastern India where there are many believers and many missionaries.

What Are Their Lives Like?

As landless agricultural workers, the Thandan live impoverished lives. If a crop fails, they can face starvation. A large portion of the Thandan is unable to read or write. This lack of education limits their upward mobility in Indian society. Their children often quit school after a few years to help their family make a living in the fields.

The Thandan marry within their group. Families arrange marriages. Sons inherit the property of their father. The Thandan live in multi-caste villages near the farms where they work. Rice, lentils, vegetables, and fruit are their main foods. As Hindus, they will not eat beef.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Palakkad Thandan people practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. They worship and serve selected gods of the Hindu pantheon. They pay special reverence to Ayyappa, the son of Shiva and the god of growth. They offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hopes of gaining protection and benefits.

The main yearly holidays of the Palakkad Thandan people are Holi, the festival of colors and the start of spring / Diwali, the festival of lights / Navratri, the celebration of autumn / and Rama Navami, Rama's birthday.

What Are Their Needs?

The Thandan need to learn new job skills. They need schools for their children. Many lack access to modern medicine. Most of all, they need to hear and respond to the message about Jesus Christ. He alone can forgive their sins and bring them hope of eternal life.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Palakkad Thandan culture to be renewed and enhanced by a work of the Holy Spirit and shaped into a God-centered and God-honoring mold.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to move among Palakkad Thandan family and community leaders to seek His face and enjoy His blessings.
Pray for the Lord to thrust out workers who will be compelled to nurture a disciple making movement among the Palakkad Thandan people.
Pray that soon the Palakkad Thandan people will have faith that will lead them to live honorable lives that will draw others to the Savior.

Text Source:   Keith Carey