Introduction / History
At one time this community was called "Paraiyar," which is considered a derisive name with reference to slavery. British colonialists did not want any people group under their watch to be considered slaves, so they changed the name to Adi Dravida.
According to one hypothesis, this community was once associated with drumming. They might have drummed at important events like festivals, weddings and funerals. As their population increased, they had to take up other jobs that were considered "unclean," since they had low caste status.
Where are they located?
Most Adi Dravida people live in India's southern states, especially Tamil Nadu, but over a million of them live in northern Sri Lanka.
What are their lives like?
The Adi Dravida of Sri Lanka are a low status community. The word 'Adi' means 'beginning'. Whether in India or Sri Lanka, most Adi Dravida people hold low-paying, low status jobs.
Their literacy level is said to be less than 50 percent, so the gospel message should be given in oral form also. They speak Tamil, which is a major language in southern India and northern Sri Lanka. There are many gospel oriented materials in this language.
What are their beliefs?
There was an effort in the 1890s to convert them en masse to Buddhism. This didn't work. Today there are now many Christians from this community in India, but only a few in Sri Lanka. They are mainly Hindus who have their own set of favorite gods.
What are their needs?
The Adi Dravida people need to be given the opportunity to get the education they need to excel in the 21st century.
* Pray for believers among the Adi Dravidas in India to go to their cousins in Sri Lanka with the gospel.
* Pray for spiritual hunger and discernment for the Adi Dravida people.
* Pray for a disciple making movement to emerge among them in both countries.
ReferencesView Adi Dravida in all countries.