Introduction / History
India is a complex mosaic of ethnic, linguistic, religious, and social groupings. Because of this diversity, it is difficult to adequately describe any single people group.
India may be divided into four main regions: the Himalayas, the northern river-plains region, the Deccan, and the Eastern and Western Ghat Mountains. Because of numerous geographical features, climatic conditions vary greatly on a seasonal and regional basis, ranging from tropical to temperate extremes.
The Kaikadi are located mainly in the states of Maharashstra and Karnataka. Their language (also called Kaikadi) is a member of the Dravidian language family. They are commonly categorized as Tamil, but little is known about their specific lifestyle.
What are their lives like?
Most of India's population lives in rural areas and is engaged in some form of agricultural activity. Many are farmers barely growing enough to survive. Farms are extremely small in size and often very fragmented. The raising of livestock, particularly horned cattle, buffalo, horses, and mules, is a central feature of the agricultural economy. Because of Hindu influence, however, these animals are used almost exclusively as beasts of burden rather than sources of meat.
Indian culture is primarily Hindu-oriented. Many Hindu institutions, including the rigid caste (social class) system, have wide-ranging effects on Indian secular society. The word "caste" basically means breed, race, or kind. Indian society is divided into hierarchical castes that are usually endogamous (marriage only within the caste). Castes may be defined by occupation or by kinship and lineage, although there are exceptions. Nevertheless, caste is so fundamental to the social organization of India that it prevails in all parts, except some of the tribal populations.
Not enough is known about the Kaikadi to accurately place them in the caste system. Apart from the fact that they are nomadic, little is known about their specific lifestyle and culture. Further research is needed to clearly identify their needs and to develop strategies for reaching them with the Gospel message.
What are their beliefs?
The Kaikadi are predominantly ethnic religionists, following their ancient traditions and religions. Their religion is primarily animistic; that is, they worship a variety of inanimate objects. Many of the Kaikadi are also involved in ancestor worship. They believe that the spirits of deceased ancestors are alive and need to be fed and tended. These spirits must be properly appeased, or else they will become hungry and dissatisfied and turn into evil spirits.
The influence of Hinduism is very strong among the Kaikadi, and many of their religious practices have become mixed with Hindu beliefs. The majority, but not all, of Hindus believe in a supreme being. Some respect all life and eat only vegetables, while others will gladly eat meat from sacrifices in the temple. To some, their religion is highly personal; to others, it is impersonal. While most Hindus worship Brahman (the creator), Shiva (the destroyer), Vishnu (the preserver), and the goddess Shaktri, they also worship a pantheon of other minor gods, their incarnations, spouses, or offspring. A belief in reincarnation (continuous cycle of death and rebirth) is one of the few unifying features of Hinduism.
What are their needs?
The few Kaikadi believers are in need of discipleship materials that will encourage and strengthen them in their walk with the Lord. Full-time missionaries, as well as Christian materials in their native language, are necessary if the Kaikadi church is to be firmly established.
* Ask the Lord of the harvest to send missionaries who will share the love of Jesus with the Kaikadi.
* Pray that signs and wonders will follow the Kaikadi believers as they share Christ with their own people.
* Ask God to call faithful intercessors who will daily stand in the gap for the Kaikadi.
* Ask the Lord to bring forth a vigorous Kaikadi church for the glory of His name!