|The Tamil people, also known as Tamilians, Tamilar, Thamizhar (Tamil: தமிழர், tamiẓhar (singular) ? [t̪ɐmɪɻɐɾ], or Tamil: தமிழர்கள், tamiẓarkaḷ (plural) ? [t̪ɐmɪɻɐɾxɐɭ]), 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. 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 modern world.
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
: யாழ்ப்பாண அரசு
) (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 -
Ilaiyaraaja (born Gnanadesikan on 2 June 1943) is an Indian film composer, singer, lyricist and the first Asian composer to score a symphony for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He is a gold medallist from Trinity College of Music, London, and has composed over 4500 songs and provided film scores for more than 900 Indian films in various languages in a career spanning more than 30 years. He is usually referred to by the title Isaignani (literally meaning 'a man with great knowledge in music'), or as "The Maestro". He is based in Chennai, the centre of the Tamil film industry. He is a recipient of prestigious Padma Bhushan Award from the Government of India.
Ilaiyaraaja has been a prominent composer of film music in southern Indian cinema since the late 1970s. His work integrated Tamil folk lyricism and introduced broader Western musical sensibilities into the South Indian musical mainstream. He has thrice won the Indian National Film Award for best film scoring. In the 2000s, he composed a range of non-film music, including religious and devotional songs, an oratorio, and world music. He is married to Jeeva, and the couple's two sons (Karthik Raja and Yuvan Shankar Raja) and daughter (Bhavatharini) are film composers and singers.
In the news
Grey pottery with engravings, Arikamedu, 1st century CE
Distribution of Tamil speakers in South India and Sri Lanka (1961)
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.
Tiruvannamalai city and Annamalaiyar temple, Tamil architecture and culture influenced much of Southeast Asia between the 8th to 13th century CE.
Aiyanar (Tamil: ஐயனார், சாஸ்தா), guardian folk deity of Tamil Nadu
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
Virampatnam jewelry from funerary burial, 2nd century BCE, Tamil Nadu
Katar, Tamil dagger which was popular throughout South Asia
Tamil woman in traditional attire, c. 1880
Erwadi durgah in Ramanathapuram district is the major pilgrimage shrine of the Tamil Muslims.
The Om symbol in Tamil script
Batu Caves temple built by Tamil Malaysians in c. 1880s
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