Text source: Joshua Project
Introduction / History
Sri Lanka has been called one of the most beautiful places in the world. Unfortunately, a 26-year civil war starting in 1983 took place in the island country. Up to 100,000 died and there was millions of dollars in property damage. The majority Buddhist Sinhalese declared victory over the Tamil Tigers in 2009. Since that time the Sri Lankan economy has begun to rebound, and tourists have returned to the island. The name Kudumban means family. Pallar people also call themselves Kudumban and are known for their kindness and generosity. The Pallan or Pallar are an agricultural community who live in southern India and Sri Lanka. They have had low status in Sri Lankan society due to their occupations that includes skinning cattle and collecting manure for fertilizer.
What are their lives like?
As Tamil speaking Hindus, many Pallan fought for the Tamil Tigers in the Sri Lankan civil war. Many lost their lives and much of their property was destroyed. The Pallan are slowly rebuilding their lives. The Pallan still work mostly in agriculture. Some own small plots of land while others are landless workers on land owned by others. Pallar men and women work as farm laborers. Pallar women take part in social and religious matters like many women of India. They believe in being educated, but most remain in an oral culture. Some Pallan have become educated and hold jobs in government, teaching and business. Pallar people do not marry outside their community. They have cross-cousin marriages.
What are their beliefs?
The Pallan people believe they are descended from the Hindu god Devendran or Indra, the king of the gods. The Pallan 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 Pallan visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hope of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods like Christians do with their heavenly Father. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. The main yearly holidays of the Pallan people are Holi, the festival of colors and the start of spring, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn and Rama Navami, Rama's birthday. They also celebrate Buddhist holidays.
What are their needs?
The Pallan need literacy and new job skills. Rural Pallan need access to electricity and clean water. Most of all they need to hear about Jesus Christ and the hope He brings. Jesus alone can forgive their sins and give them eternal life.
Pray that Pallar people will be liberated by God's Holy Spirit from the many ties that bind them to lives devoid of Christ's blessings. Pray that Pallar people will experience a growing desire to know the truth of God's Word. Pray for the Lord to multiply the reception and influence of His Word among the Pallar people, leading them to love Him with their whole being. Ask the Lord to raise up a Disciple Making Movement among the Pallan of Sri Lanka in this decade.
ReferencesView Pallan (Hindu traditions) in all countries.