Vanniyan Thigala in India

Vanniyan Thigala
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Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Vanniyan Thigala
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 46,000
World Population: 46,000
Primary Language: Tamil
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 0.98 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Hindu - Vanniyan
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Vanniyans or Vanniyars are a Hindu people group who live in south India and Sri Lanka. Vanniyans claim to be descendants the medieval Pallava kings who ruled Andhra Pradesh and north Tamil Nadu.

The Vanniyan have traditionally been agricultural workers and servants. Through their political lobbying, they have been able to raise their status from Sudra, workers, to Kshatriya, ruling caste. At the same time they have been named a Scheduled Backward caste in order to gain more government benefits. Today the Vanniyans are among the most politically mobilized and well-informed caste in the Tamil Nadu.

There were several waves of Tamil dispersals from India and Sri Lanka creating what is known as Tamil diaspora. Many Vanniyans migrated to South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore, Seychelles, Mauritius and Fiji.

The primary language of the Vanniyan is Tamil. Some also speak Telegu, Kannada and Malayalam.

Where Are they Located?

Thigala Vanniyans live in Karnataka, a state in southern India.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Most Thigala Vanniyan work in agriculture. Some own the land they till. Others work land for others. Educated Vanniyans have employment in administration, business, schools, government and politics.

Thigala Vanniyans marry within their group. Marriage to one spouse in the norm. Families arrange marriages. Sons inherit their father's property with the eldest son becoming head of the family. Newly wed couples typically live with or near the groom's parents.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The overwhelming majority of Thigala Vanniyars 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. Thigala Vanniyan 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 Vanniyan 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?

Thigala Vanniyan need help in educating their children. Rural Thigala Vanniyan need help in gaining access to modern medicine, electricity and indoor plumbing. Most of all, the Thigala Vanniyan need to hear and understand the message of Jesus Christ who alone can forgive their sins and give them lasting peace of mind.

Prayer Points

* Pray for the Holy Spirit to work powerfully through those believers ministering to the Vanniyan peoples.
* Pray for Thigala Vanniyan families and communities to discover and embrace the free gift of life found by trusting Christ and His finished work.
* Pray that growing, Bible-believing fellowships would be planted among the Thigala Vanniyan.

Text Source:   Keith Carey