Introduction / History Orissa, India is the primary home of the Pano or Pan people. Many Pans also live in other parts of India such as West Bengal, Jharhand and Andhra Pradesh. The Pano or Pan people are distributed in the Balasore, Cuttack, Puri, Dhankanal and Ganjam districts of Orissa and on the border to West Bengal and Bihar. They have endogamous occupational sub-groups known as Bunapano and Dhulipano. They use Shamal as their surnames.
What are their lives like? The Panos are Oriya speaking people while some of them also speak Hindi. They are non-vegetarian and rice is their staple food. The majority of Panos live by farming or fishing. They take menial jobs because they are Dalits. Pan people have faced considerable health problems related to contaminated water, poor diet, respiratory infections and lack of medical care. Several charitable groups have made efforts to help them with these problems. This has helped, but most of them still face these same problems. Most Panos worship Hindu and village deities and participate in ancestral worship. They are still unreached, according to the Joshua Project web site.
They are divided into a number of lineages, which regulate marriage alliances and indicate one's ancestry. They have only one gotra, the Nagasa. Their traditional and primary occupation is to serve as serfs to the land holding communities. However a few of them are engaged in private business, in cultivation, as daily wage labourers and as musicians. Their literacy rate is 22.8 percent. They use both modern and indigenous medicines.
What are their beliefs? The Pano worship gods and goddesses such as Mahadev and Durga. Their village deities are Lakhmi, Mongla and Jogmaya. Jogmaya is considered to be their chief deity. The Panos have presumed kinship with other communities such as the Mahaprasad, Mokar and the Maitra. They act as musicians during the worship and life cycle rituals of other communities.
"The Panos in our Orissa parish are demanding that they should receive privileges like the Kui Samaj people since they speak Kui. The Kui Samaj resent this and point out that Panos should not have any of the tribal status they have since many of them are Dalit Christians and are therefore beneath them as a people. The Kuis resent any Panos who would try to receive any benefits even though most Panos are living in severe poverty. Many of our Pano Christians face continued persecution from the Hindu groups and even from their own people." The Catholic Priest was explaining to his bishop the seriousness of the problems faced by the Pano people.
Prayer Points * For the salvation of the Pano people and that God may send several Christian workers to work among them and meet their spiritual and physical needs.
* For community development programs and opportunities to hear the gospel message through different ways.
* Pray that many in Pano communities will know Jesus as Savior.