Introduction / History
The Primanar are a group of Tamil Brahmins who left their homeland in South India to live in the island nation of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka became an independent nation in 1948. Many from the Primanar people were leaders in the Sri Lankan Civil War (1983-2009) against the Buddhist Sinhalese majority. The Tamil Sri Lankans wanted to establish their own country in the east and north of the island. Thousands of Primanar were killed in the war and others fled as refugees to Europe, Australia, Canada or the USA. Sri Lanka is still rebuilding from the war. Along with thousands of lost lives, the Tamils in Sri Lanka experienced the destruction of their property and livelihoods. As educated Sri Lankans, Primanar people speak Tamil, English and Sinhala.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Brahmin Primanar constitute the highest caste of the Tamil speaking people in Sri Lanka. Before the war they served as Hindu priests and teachers. Many were also landowners. Lower castes worked their land growing rice, coconuts, tea, palm trees, and spices. The Primanar also held high positions in business, technology, education, law, medicine, and science. They are trying to regain their status as wealthy Brahmins. Primanar parents encourage their children to pursue university degrees. Marriage to one spouse is the norm. Young people choose their spouses with the consent of their families. The Primanar marry within their people.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Primanar practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. The Primanar pay special devotion of Shiva, the god of destruction and the arts. 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 Primanar 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 Primanar 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. A small fraction of the Primanar became Roman Catholics during the colonial period.
What Are Their Needs?
The Primanar must come to understand that Jesus is not just another Hindu god or guru. They need to come to Him with a sense of personal sin. It is difficult for a proud Brahmin to humble himself or herself and trust in Jesus as their only Savior and Lord.
* Scripture Prayers for the Primanar in Sri Lanka.
Pray that the Lord uses the hardships and consequences of the Sri Lankan war to bring many Primanar to Himself. Pray the Primanar are able to gain employment and provide for their families. Ask the Lord to raise up a Disciple Making Movement among the Sri Lankan Primanars in this decade. Pray that Tamil believers would be led by the Spirit to tell the Primamar about the spiritual riches of Jesus Christ.