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Paniyan in India


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Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
118,000 Paniya Hinduism 0.38 % Unknown No   

Paniyan in India

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Introduction / History
The name Paniya comes from the root word pani, meaning work. The word refers to a worker or laborer and in general, a member of the tribe Paniya. They were literally slaves to the landlords in Northern Kerala.

The famous Valliyurkavu festival in Wayanadu district is reminiscent of the resultant slave trade. During this festival, slaves were sold, purchased or even exchanged by landlords and local chieftains, in front of the Bhagavathi temple. Annual pacts were renewed binding the Paniya slave to work for another year. Cloth, oil or a nominal amount were exchanged, to seal the deal. This practice slowly died, when slavery became illegal. The scars of this practice are still visible in how the Paniya conduct their lives.

Where are they located?
Paniya reside mainly in Northern Kerala (Wayanadu district), with relatively few in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. With the government resettling them in housing colonies, Paniyas now reside mainly in colonies of between eight and twenty-five houses. Very few among them have any form of education and their main means of income is subsistence farming and daily wage labor. They prefer not to associate with others living in the area.

What are their beliefs?
The Paniya do not have many religious practices. They tend to associate a spirit behind anything in their seen-world and include spirits of their dead for worship. Their main god is that of the forest, called kadubhagavathi, or kuli, which is neither male nor female. Its shrine is usually represented by one or more stones, placed under a tree. Their worship at this shrine is usually through offering boiled rice, half a coconut and a few coins. The Banyan tree is very significant in their unseen world as if they believe that spirits live on it.

A few Paniya have started following Jesus as a result of many years of ministry. These new Christians, though meeting together as a church, find it difficult to grow into maturity as the truths of the Scripture are not available to them in their language.

Prayer Points
Complete freedom in their world view, from past scars of slavery and that they would become selfsufficient through education and economic development.
The Paniya Christians to become strong in faith and reach their community through evangelism and church planting.
The Word of God in their mother tongue to open their hearts to see Jesus and help them to grow in His love.

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Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-10-02
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Country: India
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, South
Persecution Rank:11 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Population in Country:118,000
Largest States:
Kerala (104,000)Tamil Nadu (12,000)
Karnataka (700)Puducherry (400)
Delhi (100)Andhra Pradesh (60)
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Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Paniyan
People Name General: Paniyan
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 113307
Joshua Project People ID: 17834
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 118,000
Population all Countries: 118,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
People Cluster: South Asia Tribal - other
People Name General: Paniyan
Ethnic Code: CNN25
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Paniya (66,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): pcg    Ethnologue Listing
Secondary Languages:
Malayalam (23,000)Tamil (10,000)
Kannada (300)Tulu (30)
Kodava (30)Hindi (20)
Telugu (20)
Total Languages: 8
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.13 % 
Christianity0.38 %(Evangelical: Data not available)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism99.07 % 
Islam0.19 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.01 % 
Unknown0.22 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: Yes
New Testament:
Complete Bible: None Reported
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Paniya
Film / VideoLUMO film of Gospels
GeneralGospel resources links
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Paniyan in India

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    South Asia Tribal - other     Asia, South    
      Paniyan India    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Paniyan in India          
      Religion Language  
      Hinduism     Paniya  
    All Religions                              

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