Portal:Tamil People

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Tamil People

Tamil girl 1907.JPG

Tamil people (Tamilதமிழர், tamiḻar ?), also called Tamils or Tamilians, are a linguistic group native to Tamil Nadu, a state in India and the north-eastern region of Sri Lanka. They speak Tamil (தமிழ்), with a recorded history going back two millennia. Emigrant communities are found across the world, notably Malaysia, Canada, Singapore, and the UK. The Tamils are mostly Hindus with sizable Christian and Muslim populations.

Tamil was the first Indian language to be given classical status. It has the oldest extant literature amongst other Dravidian languages. The art and architecture of the Tamil people encompass some of the notable contributions of India and South-East Asia to the art world. The famous Nataraja sculpture became a universal symbol of Hinduism. The music, the temple architecture and the stylised sculptures favoured by the Tamil people in their ancient nation are still being learnt and practiced. Thus, Tamils have been referred to as the last surviving classical civilisation on Earth. The Pallava script, a variant of Southern Brahmi used by the Tamil Pallava dynasty, was the basis of several of the writing systems of Southeast Asia, including the Burmese, Khmer, Thai, Lao and Javanese scripts.

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Selected article

Zhakaram
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Puducherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore. It is one of the twenty-two scheduled languages of India and the first Indian language to be declared as a classical language by the government of India in 2004. Tamil is also spoken by significant minorities in Malaysia, Mauritius and Réunion as well as emigrant communities around the world.

Tamil literature has existed for over two thousand years. The earliest epigraphic records found date from around the third century BCE. The earliest period of Tamil literature, Sangam literature, is dated from the 300 BCE – 300 CE. More than 55% of the epigraphical inscriptions – about 55,000 – found by the Archaeological Survey of India are in the Tamil language. According to a 2001 survey, there were 1,863 newspapers published in Tamil, of which 353 were dailies. Tamil belongs to southern branch of the Dravidian languages, a family of around twenty-six languages native to the Indian subcontinent. It is also classified as being part of a Tamil language family, which alongside Tamil proper, also includes the languages of about 35 ethno-linguistic groups such as the Irula, and Yerukula languages (see SIL Ethnologue). The closest major relative of Tamil is Malayalam. Until about the ninth century, Malayalam was a dialect of Tamil. Although many of the differences between Tamil and Malayalam evidence a pre-historic split of the western dialect, the process of separation into a distinct language, Malayalam was not completed until sometime in the 13th or 14th century.

Selected biography

V. S. Srinivasa Sastri in 1940
Valangaiman Sankaranarayana Srinivasa Sastri was an Indian politician, administrator, educator, orator and Indian independence activist. He was acclaimed for his oratory and command over the English language. Srinivasa Sastri was born to a poor temple priest in the village of Valangaiman near Kumbakonam, India. He completed his education at Kumbakonam and worked as a school teacher and later, headmaster in Triplicane, Madras. He entered politics in 1905 when he joined the Servants of India Society. Srinivasa Sastri served as a member of the Indian National Congress from 1908 to 1922, but later resigned in protest against the Non-Cooperation movement. Sastri was one of the founding members of the Indian Liberal Party. In his later days, Srinivasa Sastri was strongly opposed to the partition of India. Srinivasa Sastri served as a member of the Madras Legislative Council from 1913 to 1916, Imperial Legislative Council of India from 1916 to 1919 and the Council of State from 1920 to 1925. Sastri also functioned as India's delegate to the League of Nations, as member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom and agent to the Republic of South Africa.

He gained worldwide fame for his prowess in the English language. Sastri was a close follower of Gopal Krishna Gokhale. He was also a close friend and associate of Mahatma Gandhi who addressed Sastri as his "elder brother" in writings. Sastri was made a "Companion of Honour" in 1930. In 1921, the Freedom of the City of London was conferred on Srinivasa Sastri followed by the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh in 1931.

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Agasthiyamalai range and Tirunelveli rainshadow
Credit: PlaneMad

The Agasthiyamalai range of the western ghats as seen from the rainshadow region of Tirunelveli, India. The southwest monsoon brings rain up to the ghats in Kerala while the other side in Tamil Nadu remains dry.

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Tamil People

Tamil People Countrywide: IndiaSri LankaCanadaMalaysiaSingaporeSouth AfricaEngland

Related Ethinic Groups: Brahui peopleGondKannadigaKhondsKodavaOraonMalayaliTelegusTuluvas

Related indigenous Groups: BadagasTodaKuruba


See also: Tamil script, Tamil Script Code for Information Interchange

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