An intro to the Tamil language  

   Why this page ?

Vanakkam !


Vanakkam is a greeting that has many contextual meanings. e common usage is to recognize and respect the presence of another person.

Tamil itself is an ancient language that originated in south India - the grammar rules book dates back to 3000 BC (some say 5000 BC). For anyone interested in more details on antiquity, this text though slightly off context, will give a good picture. 

The kings of the land were great sea-farers and reached into far off lands.  One can only hope they were kind to the subjects of these distant lands - I don't remember any references to this aspect in history books. Till date, Tamil continues to be the national language in SriLanka, Malaysia and Singapore.

So it is not surprising that the Tamil people are quite passionate about their language. Many many poems have been written singing the praise of the language itself - like the one here.  

The font looks quite unlike that of any Indian language - a sample.

Many of you may already know about what's considered the greatest literature in Tamil - Thiru Kural. This is an amazing, secular body of knowledge that captures different aspects of life under 330 subjects with 10 couplets (strictly 7 words only) on each subject. This is a sketch of the author of "Thiru Kural" - Thiru Valluvar with a wooden pen and palm scrolls.


Tamil Nadu, the land of the language is rich in arts and traditions. 
The picture below has the pillars of classical music form called "Karnataka Sangeetham".
One of the famous compositions of Saint Thyagaraja (first in picture) goes
"I bow to all the souls of the world - wherever they are" 

 Here's a pose struck in the classical dance form "Bharatha Natyam"

The architecture of Tamil Nadu flourished in the Chola period around 10 A.D. mainly in the form of temples. Brihadisvara temple below is a historic temple located at Thanjavur. The temple stands 216 ft. tall but it has been built in such a manner that throughout the day its shadow never falls on the ground!

The folk forms of art and music have been kept alive in the alleys of the villages of Tamil Nadu.

A sample scene from koothu, a form of street theatre.


And lastly, any note on Tamil will be incomplete without a reference to the greatest poet in modern times - Subramania Bharathi who ignited the fire in Tamilians not just for freedom from the British but also to strive to be the greatest human being one could.

If you'd like to listen to some random songs in the language, tune into www.radio.musicindiaonline.com and click Tamil. The site also has a collection of music from othe Indian languages.

Also it's the tradition of the people to start a Tamil Club called "Manrams" in far away places. These clubs (thankfully) serve not just Tamils but also the local community in large. The local chapter in California is linked here.

The region was in the news recently becos of the Tsunami.