|The Tamil people, also known as Tamilians, Tamilar, Thamizhar (Tamil: , tami?har (singular) ?[tm?], or Tamil: , tami?arka? (plural) ?[tm?x]), or simply Tamils , are a Dravidian ethnic group who speak the Tamil language as their mother tongue and trace their ancestry to Southern India and north-eastern Sri Lanka. Tamils constitute 5.9% of the population in India (concentrated mainly in Tamil Nadu), 15% in Sri Lanka, 6% in Mauritius, 7% in Malaysia and 5% in Singapore.
From the 4th century BC onwards, 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 political states, 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.
Selected article -
The Jaffna Kingdom
) (1215-1624 CE), also known as Kingdom of Aryachakravarti
, of modern northern Sri Lanka
was a historic monarchy that came into existence around the town of Jaffna
on the Jaffna peninsula
traditionally thought to be established after the invasion of Magha
, who is credited with the founding of the Jaffna kingdom and is said to have been from Kalinga
, in India. Established as a powerful force in the north, north east and west of the island, it eventually became a tribute paying feudatory of the Pandyan Empire
in modern South India
in 1258, gaining independence in 1323, when the last Pandyan ruler of Madurai was defeated and expelled in 1323 by Malik Kafur
, the army general of the Muslim Delhi Sultanate
. For a brief period, in the early to mid-14th century, it was an ascendant power in the island of Sri Lanka when all regional kingdoms accepted subordination. However, the kingdom was eventually overpowered by the rival Kotte Kingdom
, around 1450 when it was invaded by Prince Sapumal
under the Kotte Kingdom's directive.
It was freed of Kotte control in 1467 and its subsequent rulers directed their energies towards consolidating its economic potential by maximising revenue from pearls and elephant exports and land revenue. It was less feudal than most of the other regional kingdoms on the island of Sri Lanka of the same period. During this period, important local Tamil literature was produced and Hindu temples were built, including an academy for language advancement.
The arrival of the Portuguese on the island of Sri Lanka in 1505, and its strategic location in the Palk Strait connecting all interior Sinhalese kingdoms to South India, created political problems. Many of its kings confronted and ultimately made peace with the Portuguese. In 1617, Cankili II, a usurper to the throne, confronted the Portuguese but was defeated, thus bringing the kingdom's independent existence to an end in 1619. Although rebels like Migapulle Arachchi--with the help of the Thanjavur Nayak kingdom--tried to recover the kingdom, they were eventually defeated. Nallur, a suburb of modern Jaffna town, was its capital.
Selected biography -
Sr?niv?sa Aiyang?r R?m?nujan 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.
In the news
Tamil woman in traditional attire, c. 1880
Distribution of Tamil speakers in South India and Sri Lanka (1961)
Erwadi durgah in Ramanathapuram district is the major pilgrimage shrine of the Tamil Muslims.
Katar, Tamil dagger which was popular throughout South Asia
The Om symbol in Tamil script
Tiruvannamalai city and Annamalaiyar temple, Tamil architecture and culture influenced much of Southeast Asia between the 8th to 13th century CE.
Virampatnam jewelry from funerary burial, 2nd century BCE, Tamil Nadu
Batu Caves temple built by Tamil Malaysians in c. 1880s
Grey pottery with engravings, Arikamedu, 1st century CE
Megalithic burial urns or jar found in Pomparippu, North Western, Sri Lanka dated to at least five to two centuries before the Common Era. These are similar to Megalithic burial jars found in South India and the Deccan during a similar time frame.
Sage Agathiyar, one of the contributors of old Tamil literature
Meenakshi Amman temple, dedicated to Goddess Meenakshi, tutelary deity of Madurai city
Map of ancient oceanic trade, and ports of Tamilakam
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