Portal:Tamil People

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Tamil People

Tamil girl 1907.JPG

Tamil people (Tamilதமிழர், tamiḻar ?), also called Tamilars or Tamilans or Tamils, 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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Roman trade with India according to the Periplus Maris Erythraei, 1st century CE
Roman trade with India through the overland caravan routes via Anatolia and Persia, though at a relative trickle comparative to later times, antedated the southern trade route via the Red Sea and Monsoons which started around the beginning of the Common Era (CE) following the reign of Augustus and his conquest of Egypt. Having extended the Empire's reach to the upper Nile, the Romans naturally encountered the great warrior trading nation of Axum (on the Red Sea, in today's Ethiopia) which had been trading with India and Egypt for several centuries.

Roman trade diaspora frequented the ancient Tamil country (present day Southern India) and Sri Lanka, securing trade with the seafaring Tamil kingdoms of the Chola, Pandyan and Chera dynasties and establishing trading settlements which remained long after the fall of the Western Roman empire. They also outlasted Byzantium's loss of the Egypt and the Red Sea ports (ca. 639-645 CE) under the pressure of Jihad and Islam, which had been used to secure trade with India by the Greco-Roman world since the time of the Ptolemaic dynasty a few decades before the start of the Common Era. Sometime after the sundering of communications between the Axum and Eastern Roman Empire in the seventh century, the Christian kingdom of Axum fell onto a slow decline and faded into obscurity in western culture, though it survived despite pressure from Islamic forces until the eleventh century, when it was reconfigured in a dynastic squabble.

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Srīnivāsa Aiyangār Rāmānujan better known as Srinivasa Iyengar Ramanujan was an Indian mathematician and self taught genius who, with almost no formal training in pure mathematics, made substantial contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series and continued fractions. Born and raised in Erode, Tamil Nadu, India, Ramanujan first encountered formal mathematics at age 10. He demonstrated a natural ability, and was given books on advanced trigonometry written by S L Loney. He had mastered them by age 12, and even discovered theorems of his own. He demonstrated unusual mathematical skills at school, winning accolades and awards. By 17, Ramanujan conducted his own mathematical research on Bernoulli numbers and the Euler–Mascheroni constant. He received a scholarship to study at Government College in Kumbakonam, but lost it when he failed his non-mathematical coursework. He joined another college to pursue independent mathematical research, working as a clerk in the Accountant-General's office at the Madras Port Trust Office to support himself. In 1912–1913, he sent samples of his theorems to three academics at the University of Cambridge. Only G. H. Hardy recognized the brilliance of his work, subsequently inviting Ramanujan to visit and work with him at Cambridge. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, dying of illness, malnutrition and possibly liver infection in 1920 at the age of 32. During his short lifetime, Ramanujan independently compiled nearly 3900 results (mostly identities and equations). Although a small number of these results were actually false and some were already known, most of his claims have now been proven correct. He stated results that were both original and highly unconventional, such as the Ramanujan prime and the Ramanujan theta function, and these have inspired a vast amount of further research. However, some of his major discoveries have been rather slow to enter the mathematical mainstream. Recently, Ramanujan's formulae have found applications in crystallography and string theory. The Ramanujan Journal, an international publication, was launched to publish work in all areas of mathematics influenced by his work.

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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.



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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