Bania Chetti in Sri Lanka

Bania Chetti
Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2023
Isudas  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  People Group Location: Omid. Other geography / data: GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Bania Chetti
Country: Sri Lanka
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 6,500
World Population: 855,500
Primary Language: Tamil
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Forward Caste - Bania
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Chetti or Chettiar are part of the large business caste of Bania in India and Sri Lanka. The word Chetti means trader or merchant. The Chetti are some of the most successful businesspersons in Sri Lanka. They founded many of the leading banks of Sri Lanka They are also involved in finance, real estate, entertainment, textiles, timber and grains. The Chetti own tea and coffee plantations, which are farmed by other castes.

Chetti families encourage their sons to get MBAs and other advanced degrees. Most Chetti women do not work in business but take care of the home.

The primary language of the Chetti is Tamil. As educated Indians they also speak English, which allows them to do business throughout the world.

Where Are they Located?

Most Chetti live in the south Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. Smaller groups live throughout India and in the island nation of Sri Lanka. Most Chetti live in the Western State of Sri Lanka.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Some of the most wealthy and successful people in south Sri Lanka are Bania Chetti. They own large businesses, banks and commercial enterprises. Some work for salaries in private companies and government.

The Chetti marry within their Bania caste often to families with the same level of income and property. Families arrange marriages with the consent of the young people. Sons inherit property from their fathers. Weddings are held at mansions owned by other Chetti. Brahmin priests officiate at important family occasions like births, weddings and funerals. describes Chetti are secretive, practical, traditional land and business owners. Chettiar women rarely join family businesses but focus on the families' cultural and philanthropic initiatives. The Chetti support Hindu scholarship and temples as well as traditional Tamil art and literature.

As Hindus the Chetti do not eat beef. Sons are frequently named after their grandfathers and daughters after their grandmothers.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Bania Chetti practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works that they will attain moksha or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The Chetti visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers and incense to their gods. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs.

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

What Are Their Needs?

The Bania Chetti of Sri Lanka need to hear the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. They need to see that money, possessions and Hinduism will not bring the peace of mind and joy that they are seeking. They come to realize that they are sinners in need of the Savior.

Prayer Points

Pray that the Lord leads south Indian and Sri Lankan Christians to befriend the Chetti and introduce them to the Lord Jesus.
Pray that God will give them a distain for the Hindu gods and a desire for the Biblical Triune God and His Word.
Pray that God leads the Chetti to Christian literature and websites to learn about the Bible and the Lord Jesus.

Text Source:   David Kugel