Tamil, Jaffna in Malaysia

Tamil, Jaffna
Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2024
Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  Southeast Asia Link - SEALINK Copyrighted © 2024 Used with permission
People Name: Tamil, Jaffna
Country: Malaysia
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 34,000
World Population: 34,000
Primary Language: Tamil
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

As early as 6th century B.C, South Indian Tamils migrated to Jaffna and other northern provinces of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). In the late 19th century, Jaffna Tamil migrated to Malaysia to assist the colonial bureaucracy in clerical work. They previously served under British officers, who were posted to Ceylon prior to Malaysia. Jaffna Tamil excelled in mathematics, accounting, and English due to strong missionary schooling. They worked in almost every branch of public administration and in plantation and industrial sectors. Many rose to command senior positions in government services. Many friends and family members from Jaffna soon followed by migrating to Malaysia to find work. They found careers in the railway, postal service, and civil service to name a few.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Jaffna Tamils continue to thrive in Malaysia as professionals in medicine, law, accounting, engineering, computer science and many other fields. Thriftiness and education have been the key to their success. However, in their pursuit of advanced education to maintaining a high social and cultural status in Malaysia, Jaffna Tamil have neglected to maintain their Tamil Language. They prefer to use English at home and social gatherings. Today's younger generation of professionals are losing some of their cultural identity in Malaysia.
Jaffna Tamil refuse to identify themselves with the wider Tamil community. In attempt to express their own identity in Malaysia, Jaffna Tamil have sought to distance themselves from Malaysia's Indian Tamil community along class lines. The Indians detest the Jaffna Tamil's onetime close association with the British colonizers.
Jaffna Tamil traditionally gave away dowry with their daughters at marriage. The moment a girl is born families will naturally begin saving for her dowry. Though not as prevalent as in previous generations, dowry is still prevalent among some conservatives. The caste system is dying out with each new generation of Malaysian Jaffna Tamil.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Traditionally, Jaffna Tamil have always been considered devout Hindus. However, there is a small minority of Christians who converted after the arrival of Portuguese, Dutch and British in Ceylon. Religion has always played a crucial role in the Jaffna Tamil identity. They have built Hindu temples and institutions in Malaysia. The Jaffna Tamil are very strict and ritualistic in their Hindu practices, which can be observed in their complex burial and marriage ceremonies.

What Are Their Needs?

Despite the fact Jaffna Tamil played an important role in development of modern Malaysia, they are frequently overlooked as a people group in Malaysia. They are often viewed as part of the larger Tamil community, whose values and cultures are similar. The Jaffna Tamil's culture and beliefs are beginning to transform with the influence of new ideals on each generation through intermarriages and seeking higher education from other countries. Pray for believers who can relate to the needs of the Jaffna Tamil and minister to them in a way to show them the path to the Prince of Peace.

Prayer Points

Pray for the authority of Christ to bind hindering spiritual forces and lead them to the Light of the World.
Pray for signs and wonders among the Jaffna Tamil people and for great breakthroughs with a rapid multiplication of disciples and house churches.
Pray for bold workers who are driven by the love of the Holy Spirit to go to them.

Text Source:   Joshua Project