Brahmin Mukkaniyar in India

Brahmin Mukkaniyar
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Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project
People Name: Brahmin Mukkaniyar
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 29,000
World Population: 29,000
Primary Language: Tamil
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Forward Caste - Brahmin
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

There are several subgroups of the Brahmins, one of which is the Mukkaniyar, one of the Smartha Brahmin subgroups. The history of the Brahmins is associated with the Vedic religion of early India, usually referred to as Sanatana Dharma. Brahmins have their roots in the Vedic period, but how the modern caste system developed is a highly contested topic due to lack of clear data. Brahmins and kings became the dominant social and religious forces in many of the kingdoms that developed over pre-modern India. Discrimination became a feature of the caste system with Brahmins often being assigned blame for the system. Over time, Brahmins became a powerful and influential group in India and many discriminated against lower castes. Discerning opinions and heart attitudes is difficult, but it seems that only a small minority of today's Brahmins would uphold what was once considered Brahmin orthodoxy:that Brahmins are better by birth than all other peoples.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Mukkaniyar Brahmins are priests, but many work for the government and some are self-employed. There are professionals and administration workers among them. Brahmins are generally among the well-to-do in India and place a high value on education. Thus an inordinate percentage of Brahmins are among the Hindus who have migrated to the West where they can easily be reached. Probably most still perform daily worship rituals, but the growing forces of secularization and globalization in India are strongest among the Brahmins. Most are vegetarian but some groups eat meat, particularly fish, and many individuals even from vegetarian Brahmin groups are now eating meat (rarely beef, and often meat eating is surreptitious). In modern India some Brahmins claim reverse discrimination due to affirmative action policies of the central and state governments that favor lower caste groups. This issue will probably be contested for decades to come.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Most modern Brahmins do not espouse a doctrine of their superiority by birth above other peoples. It was also noted that many are now secularists. But most Brahmins respect the ancient (and many not-so-ancient) traditions of their forefathers. Some work to synthesize modern science and Hindu beliefs and practices. There are hundreds of "denominations" of Hinduism and Brahmins have a presence in many; so it is not easy to generalize on what Brahmins believe. Smartha Brahmins like the Mukkaniyar community give more weight to the Smriti Corpus rather than other sets of ancient writings. Some of them follow gurus. Few today have seriously studied, let alone memorized, the ancient Vedas; but one is more likely to find a person knowledgeable about the Vedas and other Hindu texts and teachings among Brahmins than among any non-Brahmin caste group.

What Are Their Needs?

The Mukkaniyar Brahmins need the blessings of a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Prayer Points

Brahmins are seen as knowledgeable and enlightened; pray for the light of the gospel to bring the knowledge of Christ to them, and pray wisdom for disciples of Jesus who befriend and share faith with Mukkaniyar Brahmins. Pray that the true God will reveal Himself to this community and use Brahmins to preach and teach about Jesus Christ. Pray for a disciple making movement among the Mukkaniyar Brahmins.

Text Source:   Keith Carey