Portal:Tamils

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The Tamil people, also known as Tamilar ( Tamil: தமிழர், romanized: Tamiḻar, pronounced  [tamiɻaɾ] in the singular or தமிழர்கள், Tamiḻarkaḷ, [tamiɻaɾxaɭ] in the plural) Tamilians, or simply Tamils ( /ˈtæmɪls/), are a Dravidian ethno-linguistic group who trace their ancestry to the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Union territory of Puducherry and to Sri Lanka. Tamils constitute 5.9% of the population in India (concentrated mainly in Tamil Nadu), 15% in Sri Lanka, 10% in Mauritius, 7% in Malaysia and 5% in Singapore. Tamils, with a population of around 76 million and with a documented history stretching back over 2,000 years, are one of the largest and oldest extant ethnolinguistic groups in the world.

From the 4th century BC, urbanisation and mercantile activity along the western and eastern coasts of what is today Kerala and Tamil Nadu led to the development of four large Tamil empires, the Cheras, Cholas, Pandyas and Pallavas and a number of smaller states, all of whom were warring amongst themselves for dominance. The Jaffna Kingdom, inhabited by Sri Lankan Tamils, was once one of the strongest kingdoms of Sri Lanka and controlled much of the north of the island.

Tamils were noted for their influence on regional trade throughout the Indian Ocean. Artefacts marking the presence of Roman traders show direct trade was active between Rome and Southern India and the Pandyas were recorded as having sent at least two embassies directly to Emperor Augustus in Rome. The Pandyas and Cholas were historically active in Sri Lanka. The Chola dynasty successfully invaded several areas in southeast Asia, including the powerful Srivijaya and the Malay city-state of Kedah. Medieval Tamil guilds and trading organizations like the Ayyavole and Manigramam played an important role in Southeast Asian trading networks. Pallava traders and religious leaders travelled to Southeast Asia and played an important role in the cultural Indianisation of the region. Scripts brought by Tamil traders to Southeast Asia, like the Grantha and Pallava scripts, induced the development of many Southeast Asian scripts such as Khmer, Javanese Kawi script, Baybayin and Thai. ( Full article...)

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Word Tamil.svg

Tamil ( /ˈtæmɪl/; தமிழ் Tamiḻ [t̪amiɻ], pronunciation) is a Dravidian language natively spoken by the Tamil people of South Asia. Tamil is the official language of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, and an official language of the two sovereign nations, Singapore and Sri Lanka. In India, it is also the official language of the Union Territory of Puducherry. Tamil is spoken by significant minorities in the four other South Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is also spoken by the Tamil diaspora found in many countries, including Malaysia, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia and Mauritius. Tamil is also natively spoken by Sri Lankan Moors.

One of 22 scheduled languages in the Constitution of India, Tamil was the first to be classified as a classical language of India and is one of the longest-surviving classical languages in the world. A. K. Ramanujan described it as "the only language of contemporary India which is recognizably continuous with a classical past." The variety and quality of classical Tamil literature has led to it being described as "one of the great classical traditions and literatures of the world". ( Full article...)

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Artistic depiction of Thiruvalluvar

Thiruvalluvar ( Tamil: திருவள்ளுவர்), commonly known as Valluvar, was a celebrated Tamil poet and philosopher. He is best known as the author of the Tirukkuṟaḷ, a collection of couplets on ethics, political and economical matters, and love. The text is considered an exceptional and widely cherished work of the Tamil literature.

Almost no authentic information is available about Valluvar, states Kamil Zvelebil – a scholar of Tamil literature. His life and likely background are variously inferred from his literary works by different biographers. There are unauthentic hagiographic and legendary accounts of Valluvar's life, and all major Indian religions, as well as Christian missionaries of the 19th century, have tried to claim him as secretly inspired (crypto-) or originally belonging to their tradition. Little is known with certainty about his family background, religious affiliation, or birthplace. He is believed to have lived at least in the town of Mylapore (a neighbourhood of the present-day Chennai), and his floruit is dated variously from 4th century BCE to early 5th century CE, based on the traditional accounts and the linguistic analyses of his writings. Maraimalai Adigal gives 31 BCE as the birth year of Valluvar, while Kamil Zvelebil infers the Tirukkuṟaḷ and Valluvar are best dated to around 500 CE. ( Full article...)

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Tamil People Countrywide: IndiaSri LankaCanadaMalaysiaSingaporeSouth AfricaEngland

Related Ethnic Groups: BrahuiGondKannadigaKhondsKodavaOraonMalayaliTelegusTuluvas

Related indigenous Groups: BadagasTodaKuruba


See also: List of Tamil people, Tamil script, Tamil Script Code for Information Interchange


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