Introduction / History
The term Panchama is sometimes used to include several people groups (communities) in the Dalit class of people. Harijan is another term which has been used for this category. Panchama means the fifth one, referring to a non-existent fifth varna, or social class in the caste system, below the other four varnas. As used here, Panchama refers to only one people group, living in several southern districts of India.
What are their lives like?
Many work as farm laborers.
What are their beliefs?
Lord Venkatesh-war is considered their patron deity. They worship village deities such as Sub-balamma and Kanakadurgamma. The people are served by Brahmin priests, Dasari priests, washermen and barbers.
What are their needs?
Hinduism presents a very different picture of eternal realities than does the Christian Bible. It's difficult for people to change their understanding this radically and it is a slow process.
Poor and downtrodden people are often those most responsive to the gospel message. Even though there likely are no followers of Jesus among these people today, we should pray the Lord will send workers soon to tell them about new life in Christ. Oral communication is likely to be the most effective approach.
Pray for the Panchama people to experience God as the only provider for material, spiritual and emotional needs.
It's not too early to pray for those in this community who will soon come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Pray the Lord will send disciplers to teach them to disciple others in the ways of Christ.
One of the alternate names for the Panchama people is Pariah, meaning outsider or castaway. Please pray for the Panchamas to be brought into God's family, accepted as beloved children of God, no longer outsiders.
Text source: Joshua Project