People and Language

The ancient Tamil land was ruled by three famous lines of kings, namely, Cera (ceerar), Chola (coolar) Pandiya (paantiyar). The land ruled by them was Chera Nadu (ceera naatu) –Chera country, Chola Nadu (coola naatu)-Chola country and Pandiya Nadu (paantiya naatu)-Pandiaya country respectively.

The landmass covered by the present-day Kerala State formed a major part of Chera Nadu, the Central and Northern parts of present Tamil nadu were the then Chola nadu and the Southern part of Tamil Nadu was the Pandiya Nadu.

Tamils are of Dravidian origin. Many historians claim that the Dravidians, before the dawn of the history of the Tamils, were spread all over India. For various reason they eventually split into small groups. Consequently, the original language also split into different languages. Tamil is found to have retained about 80 per cent features of the original Dravidian language.

There are three major sub-groups in the Dravidian family of language, namely, South Dravidian, Central Dravidian and North Dravidian.

The language of the South Dravidian sub-group is mainly,

1. Tamil
2. Malayalam
3. Kodagu
4. Kota
5. Toda
6. Kannada
7. Tulu

The languages of the Central Dravidian sub-group are mainly:

8. Telugu
9. Gondi
10. Konda
11. Pengo
12. Manda
13. Kui
14. Kuvi
15. Kolami
16. Nayki
17. Parji
18. Gadba

The languages of the North Dravidian sub-group are mainly:

19. Kurukh
20. Malto
21. Brahmi

Tamil is spoken predominantly in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is spoken also in several other Indian states. In addition, Tamil speaking populations are found in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, Fiji Islands and South Africa. Recent Tamil immigrants are found all over the world.
The distribution of Tamil-speaking population found in the States of India according to the book ‘Distribution of Languages in India in States and Union Territories’ published by the Central Institute of Indian Languages is given below:

State/Union Territory Tamil-Speaking
Population Percentage

Andhra Pradesh 55242 1.27
Assam & Meghalaya 2992 0.02
Bihar 15167 0.03
Gujarat 15995 0.06
Jammu & Kashmir 823 0.02
Kerala 505340 2.37
Madhya Pradesh 28735 0.07
Tamil Nadu 34817421 84.51
Maharashtra 233988 0.46
Karnataka 990409 3.38
Orissa 9160 0.04
Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. 6128 0.02
Rajasthan 3564 0.01
Uttar Pradesh 9222 0.01
West Bangal 21454 0.05
Andaman and Nicobar Islands 14518 12.62
Delhi 37 343 0.92
Lackshadeep, and Minicoy Islands 113 0.35
Manipur 834 0.08
Tripura 82 —-
Dadra and Nagar havel 11 0.01
Goa, Daman, and D 3347 0.39
Pondicherry 419830 88.95
Nagaland 469 0.09
Arunachal Pradesh 638 0.14

Arts & Architecture

Art of Music

The ancient Tamils had their own music system and musical instruments. They had five kinds of Pan (pan), namely Mullai (mullai), Kurinji (kurinci), Marudham (marutam), Neythal (neytal) and Palai (paalai). Apart from this, they had seven musical notes, viz., Kural (kural), Thuttam ((tuttam), Kaykkilai (kaikkilai), Uzhai (ulai), ili (ili), Vilari (vilari) and Tharam (taaram). These seven notes might be roughly equated with the seven modern musical notes sa, ri, ga, ma, pa, da, and ni. They had their famous yazhs (yaalkal) that are comparable with the modern Veena (veena), Periyazh (periyaal), Maharahazh (makarayaal), Sengattuyazh (cenkoottuyaal), Sagottaiyazh (cakootai) and Siriyazh (ciiriyaal) are the names denoting different kinds of Yazhs (yaalkal). We learn through the Sangam works that the Tamils had many other musical instruments.

It appears that in the period of Alwars (alvaarkal) and Nayanmars (naayanmaarkal), the native system of music was retained with some deviations. In the year 1943 the patron of Tamil language, literature and arts, Dr. Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar started the Tamil Music Academy (Tamil icai cankam) at madras and thereby he attempted to restore and enrich the Tamil music.


Tamil is broadly classified into lyal (iyal) ‘prose’, Isai (icai) ‘poetry’ and Nadakam (naatakam) ‘drama’. Nattiyam (naattiyam) or Kuthu (kuuttu) is mainly concerned with dance. The ancient Tamils had two kinds of Kuthu: (1) Vetiyal (veettiyal) and (2) Podhuviyal (potuviyal). Vetiyal is especially meant for royal families and Podhuviyal is meant for the public. Later on this convention had disappeared. Since the kings had slowly lost their power the arts patronized by them also gradually lost their glamour. Thus the Vetiyal (veettiyal) type of drama became extinct. The ancient Tamil country is the home of the classical dance known as `paratanaatyam’ “Bharata Natyam.”

Drama and dance gradually emerged as two different branches. In 1960s and 1970s cinema has overshadowed drama.

Drawing and Painting:

The kings also patronized the art of drawing and painting. All over Tamil Nadu we can see temples, small and big, and almost all the temples are decorated by drawings and paintings. The paintings at Cithannavasal (cittannavaasal) near Pudhukkottai are worth seeing.
Architecture and Scripture

Tamil Nadu is famous for huge temples and marvelous gopurams ‘temple tower’. Rajarajan, the Chula king, constructed a temple in Tanjavur. This temple gopuram is very tall and it is called Thanjaipperiya Koil (tancaipperiya Kooyil) “the big temple of Tanjavur.” His son Rajendra Chola, who subdued the rulers of the region up to the river Ganges, constructed another big temple in Gangai Konda Cholapuram (kankai konta coolapuram). Except that the Thanjai periya Koil (tancaip periya kooyil) is bigger in size than the temple in Gangai Konda Cholapuram, they are exactly similar. The former was named as “Rajarajeswaram” and the latter was named as “Gangai Kondacholeswaram.” These temples are famous for the huge nandis (bulls) and lingams. The temples of Madurai Meenakshi Amman, Kanchipuram Varadharajapperumal, and Chidambaram Natarajar are worth seeing. The skill of Tamils in architecture and sculpture can be seen in these temples. The five cars carved in rocks at Mahabalipuram are extremely beautiful. There are also other works that show the skill of Tamils in sculpture. The Collections of Vigrahas ‘ icons’, statues, drawings and paintings, etc., found in the museums of Madras, Tanjavur, Pattiswaram and Kaverippumattinam deserve special mention.

Socio-Cultural Features

Day-to-Day Life

The Tamils are mainly rice-eaters. Sambar (caampa: r), Rasam (racam) and curd (tayir) or Buttermilk is taken along with rice. Potato, beans, carrot, cabbage, eggplant, okra, and other vegetables, are the side dishes. Majority of the Tamils are non-vegetarians, though their intake is mainly vegetarian food. On special occasions a kind of sweet dish known as Payasam (paayacam) is served. After taking meals, they occasionally chew betel leaf and areca nut.

In urban areas, people favor the eatables, Iddli (ittili), Dhosai (toocai), Puri (puuri), etc., and the drinks coffee, tea or milk. In rural areas people take rice. Now a day almost all the villages are being urbanized in this respect. Especially youngsters are fond of Tiffin in the morning times. It may also be mentioned that there are people in villages who usually take Kanchi (kanci)-(rice porridge) in the morning times. Idly (ittili), Vada (vatai), Pongal (ponkal), Upma (upumaa), Puri (puuri), Chappathi (cappaatti), Dhosai (toocai), etc., are the tiffin items. Iddli (ittili), Chatni (cattini) and Sambar (caampa: r) are more common items.

As far as the clothing are concerned, Tamil gents wear dhotis (worn in the so-called lungi fashion) and shirts and ladies wear saris and jackets. Gents use pants and shirts too, though not very common. Boy’s wear half-pants and shirts. Young girls wear Dhavani (taavani), Pavadai (paavaatai) and Ravikkai (ravikkai). Some orthodox gents adorn themselves with turbans.

Silk saris namely, Kanchipattu (kaancippattu) saris woven in the town, Kanchipuram in Tami Nadu are famous for occasions to wear by ladies, their durability, etc. Ladies use a variety of ornaments. Few of them are, Modhiram (mootiram)’ ring,’ Valayal (valayal) ‘bangle,’ Mukkuthi (muukkutti) ‘nose ornament,’ Thodu (tootu) ‘ear ornament,’ necklace (neklacu) ‘neck ornament,’ Kolusi (kolucu) ‘leg ornament,’ etc. Married women wear Thali (taali) ‘mangala sutra’ as the symbol for marriage. Generally gents wear wristwatch, rings, etc. In rural areas some people wear earrings, wrist-chains, etc. Almost all the people in the rural areas are agriculturists and agricultural laborers. The office-going people, coolies, business people and other laborers inhabit the urban areas.

When known persons meet, they exchange respect and affection by the Tamil phrase vanga vanakkam (vaanka vankkam). This vanga vanakkam (please do come/welcome/greeting) is similar to namasthe or namaskar, the greetings words used widely in the North India. At the time of departure poy varukiren (poovvarukireen) or varukiren (varukireen) is used. Though this means literally ‘I come’ but implies ‘now I go and will be back to meet you again’ in the Taamil society.


There are a number of festivals observed in Tamil Nadu. Very famous festivals are Pongal (ponkal), Deepavali (tiipaavali) and Karthikai (kaarttikai). Among them Pongal is considered to be the special festival of Tamil Nadu and it is called Tamizhar Thirunal (tamilar tirunaal), the festival of harvest celebrated for four days in mid-January.

The first day of Pongal is known as Bogi (pooki) or Bogipandikai (pookippantikai). On that day people worship the rain, the Rain God, or the Rain Goddess. Also, all the old and unusable articles are burnt in bonfires. The second day of Pongal is the Pongal Proper. On this day people worship the Sun God. The third day is mattu Pongal (maattupponkal). On this day they bathe the cattle and worship them, as they are the mainstay of farm life. The fourth day is known as Karinal (karinaal) or Kanru Pongal (kanrupponkal). On this day villages assemble at a public place and many native games. Pongal festival takes place towards the final stage of harvest. Makara Sankaranthi celebrated elsewhere in India is the Pongal day.

Deepavali (tiipaavali) is enthusiastically celebrated in both urban and rural areas of Tamil Nadu. It is believed that Deepavali is celebrated in memory of demon, Narakasuran who was killed by Lord Vishnu on the day of Deepavali. Symbolically this means god destroys bad.

Karthikai (kaarttikai) is commonly celebrated by all Tamils putting Deebam (tiipam) ‘lights’ every night throughout the Tamil month Karthikal (kaarttikai). During this period people worship Lord Murugan also called Kartikeyan or Subramanyan son of Lord Siva.

Apart from these popular festivals, there are several other festivals such as car festivals in many villages and towns. Tamil Nadu is full of fairs and festivals in particular, car festivals.

There are also a number of folk deities who are worshipped with equal if not more fervor all over Tamil Nadu. Also the rituals and ceremonies that take place at birth, naming, ear boring, puberty, marriage and death differ from region to region, from caste to caste, and from religion to religion.

Universities in Tamil Nadu

There are fifteen universities in Tamil Nadu engaged in the development of the Tamil language, literature, culture, etc. They are namely, Annamalai University at Annamalainagar, established 50 years ago; Madras University, which was established over 150 years ago; Madurai Kamaraj University at Madurai; Tami University at Tanjavur; Bharathiyar University at Coimbatore and Bharatidasan University at Tiruchirappalli and like. Apart from these universities, the International Institute of Tamil Studies functioning at Cennai also works for the development of Tamil studies. There is also a technological university in Cennai named Anna University. Mother Theresa Woman’s University at Kodaikkanal and Gandhigram Deemed University are the other universities in Tamil Nadu.

Tamils have made significant contributions to Indian culture and the independence struggle. People like, V. O. Chidambaram Pillai, Poet Subramania Bharati, are notable among them. In the sciences, Sir C. V. Raman and Professor Chandrrasekhar received the Nobel Prize from Tamil Nadu. There are many novelists who have received the prestigious Sahithya Academy awards and Gnana Peeth Awards for their outstanding literary works.


The recorded history of the Tamil literature can be broadly grouped under seven periods. They are:
1. Sangam Period – 3rd Century BCE-2nd Century CE
2. Later Sangam Period – 2nd Century CE- 6th Century CE
3. Pallava Period – 6thCentury CE-9the Century CE
4. Chola Period – 9th Century CE-12th Century CE
5. Nayak Period – 3th Century CE-17th Century CE
6. European Period – 17th Century CE-19th Century CE
7. Present Period – 20th Century CE onwards

For our purposes, the Tamil literature may broadly be classified into:

(i) Sangam Classics
(ii) Bhakthi/Devotional Literature
(iii) Ethics, and
(iv) Modern Literature

(i) Sangam Classics

The early Tamil literatures are called Sangam literatures. Though there are controversies over the period of these classics, generally the period between 200 BCE and 500 AD is considered the period of Sangam. Sangam classics are mostly descriptive. They describe nature, human feelings, love lover, husband-wife relations, war, etc. Pathuppattu (pattuppaattu), an anthology of ten poems, and Ettuthokai (ettuttokai), a collection of eight anthologies, are two major Sangam classics. The following are known as Pathuppattu (pattuppaattu).

1. Thirumurukarruppadai (trirumurukaarruppatai)
2. Porunararruppadai (porunaraarruppatai)
3. Perumpanarruppadai (perumpaanaarruppatai)
4. Sirupanarruppadai (cirupaanaarruppatai)
5. Mullaippattu (mullaippaattu)
6. Maduraikanchi (maturaikkaanci)
7. Nedunalvadai (netunalvaatai)
8. Kurinchippattu (kurincippaattu)
9. Pattinappalai (pattinappaalai)
10. Malaipadukadam (malaipatukataam)

The following are known as Ettuthokai (ettuttokai).
1. Narrinai (narrinai)
2. Kurunthokai (kuruntokai)
3. Aynkurunuru (ayankurunu: ru)
4. Pathirruppathu (patirruppattu)
5. Paripadal (paripaatal)
6. Kalithokai (kalittokai)
7. Agananuru (akanaanuru)
8. Purananuru (puranaanuuru)

In addition to these, there is another set of poems known as Pathinenkizhkankku
(patinenkiilkanakku) which includes the following:

1. Naladiar (naalatiyaar)
2. Nanmanikkadikai (naanmanikkatikai)
3. Iniyavai Narpathu (iniyavai naarpatu)
4. Inna Narpathu (innaanaarpatu)
5. Kar Narpathu (kaar naarpatu)
6. Kalavazhi Narpathu (kalavali na: rpatu)
7. Thinaimozhi Aymathu (tinaimoli aimpatu)
8. Thinaimalai Nurrayamathu (tinaimaalai nuurraimpatu)
9. Aynthinai Aymathu (aintinai aimpatu)
10. Aynthinai Ezhu pthu (aintinai elupatu)
11. Thirikadugam (tirikatukam)
12. Thirukkural (tirukkural)
13. Asarkkovai (aacaarakkoovai)
14. Pazhamozhi Nanuru (palamoli naanuuru)
15. Sirupanjamulam (cirupanca muulam)
16. Mudumozhikkanci (mutumolikkaanci)
17. Elathi (eelaati)
18. Kaynnilai (kainnilai)

Many of the poems in this collection seem to belong to the post-Sangham age. It is
widely accepted that among these, Thirukkural was composed before the 2nd century CE. The Thirukkural consists of 1330 Kural (kural), which are short verses of seven words. Thiruvalluvar is the author of this book. This book consists of three major divisions, namely, Arathuppal (arattuppaal), Porutpal (porutpaal) and Inbathupal (inpattuppaal).

Arathupal deals with family life and ascetic life, which are called Illaram and Turavaram respectively. Perhaps this could be somewhat equated with the Sanskrit division Dharma.
Porutpal deals with the rulers and the ruled and all the other aspects relevant to them. Perhaps this could be equated with the Sanskrit division Artha.
Inbathuppal deals with love both premarital and extramarital. In short, Thirukkural is a very good guide for life and an excellent literary work to enjoy. This book has been translated into many Indian and foreign languages.

The famous Tamil work Silappathikaram (cilappatikaaram) belong to the later Sangam period. Saint Ilango, a Chera prince, wrote this epic. Silappathikaram is the story of a chaste woman, by name Kannaki. All Tamils know the story of Kannaki. The author, Ilango, says in the prologue that the work is based on the truth that (i) a chaste woman is worthy of worship even by great people, (ii) the Aram (Dharma) becomes the destroyer of the kings who do injustice and (iii) the fate inevitably makes one to suffer the effect of one’s own actions. There is another epic known as Manimekalai (manimeekalai) by Sathnar, a contemporary of Saint Ilango. These two epics are known together as ‘Twin Epics’.

(ii) Bhakthi/Devotional Literature

Bhakthi literature deals with religious philosophy, the history of saints, etc. Most of these
are devotional poems. Religious teaching is found to have entered Tamil literature, for the first time in Manimekalai. Sathanar the author of this book believed in Buddhism. The philosophy of Buddha is extensively discussed in Manimekalai.

After the 7th century CE, there was an acute fight between Saivites and Jains as well as Saivites and Buddhists. The Nayanmars (naayanmaarkal), the saints of Saivism, took much pain to spread and establish their religion all over Tamil Nadu. They were, to a great extent, successful in their attempt. Saivism as well as Vaishnavism clashed with Jainism and Buddhism. Consequently Jainism and Buddhism lost their ground in Tamil Nadu. Jains, Saivites, and Vaishnavites extensively use the medium of literature for the propagation of their religions. Sivagasinthamani (ciivakacintaamani) is the outstanding work of Jains. Kambaramayanam (kamparaamaayanam) is the most celebrated work of Vaishnavites. Thiruvasakam (tiruvaacakam) is one of the most popular Saiva Bhakthi songs. Apart from these, there are many works for various religious groups.

(iii) Ethics

The major part of Thirukkural deals with morals. Literature was chosen as the best instrument to teach morals. The poetic works Naladiar (naalatiyaar), Nanmanikkadikai (naanmanikkatikai), Elathi (eelaati), Sirupancamulam (cirupancamuulam), Athiccudi (aatticuuti), Konraiventhan (konraiveentan), etc., are very popular in Tamil Nadu. Many memorize the verses of these works.

(iv) Modern Literature

Modern literature must be dealt with fewer than two headings:
(1) Prose and (2) Poetry.
It may be noted that prose writings have gained more popularity in this century. Prose style is chosen as a better medium for novels, short stories, essays, etc.

Prose: Prose literature may be generally classified into
two components: (1) Novels and (2) Short stories.


The first novel published in Tamil was Prathaba Mudaliar Sarithiram (Pirataapa mutaliaaar carittiram). Vedanayagam Pillai who lived in the 19th century wrote this novel. Now there are a number of novels in Tamil. Among the recent novelists Akilan, N. Parthasarathi, Jayagandhan, Sandilyan Ashoka Mitram and others are eminent writers. Mu. Varadarajan’s Kallo Kaviyamo (kallookaaviyamoo), Nencil Oru Mul (nencil oru mul) and Akal Vilakku (akal vilakku), Akilan’s Pavvai Vilakku (paavai vilakku) and Nencin Alikal (nencin alaikal). Parthasarathi’s Kurincimalar (kurincimalar) and Ponvilangu (ponvilanku), Sandilyan’s Yavana Rani (yavana raani), Kadal Pura (katalpura) and Raja Muthirai (raajamuttirai), etc, are excellent works in the sphere of Tamil novels. Also Akilan received the ‘Gnana Peeth’ award for his novel, Sithirappavai (cittirappaavai).

Short Stories

Jayakantan is one of the eminent and popular storywriters in Tamil. He is not only a storywriter, but also a novelist. His novels Parisukkupo (paaricukkup poo), Vazhkai Azhaikkiratu (vaalkkai alaikkiratu), etc., are worth reading. Among his novels, Akkinippiravesam (akkinip piraveecam) are extremely good. Another storywriter who deserves our appreciation is R. Sutamani. She has written many stories among which Unam (uunam) stands unique. Jayasirpiyan, Sundara Ramasamy, A. Madhavan, Ashoka Mithiran, Navabharathi P. Pukazhenthi, Puvai S. Arumugam and others are well known writers in the field of Tamil short story writing.

Apart from these stories, there are a number of stories published in several weekly and monthly magazines. Kumudam (kumutam), Anandha Vikadan (aanantavikatan), Kalaimagal (kalaimakal) Kalki (kalki), Tiipam (tiipam), Kungumam (kunkumam), Taay (taay), Minnambalam (minnampalam) and several others are the journals that give primary importance to stories.


The late poet Subramanya Bharathi started a new era in the history of poetry. He used poetry as an instrument to arouse patriotism and he was successful in this to a great extent. His poetry went not only to the hands of scholars but also to the hands of common people. The complete works of Bharati were published under the title Bharathiyar Kavithaikal (paaratiyaar Kavitaikal). Among his works Kannan Pattu (kannan paattu), Kuyil Pattu (kuyil Paattu) and Panchali Sabadham (paancaali capatam) are outstanding.

Another poet late Bharathidhasan, the beloved follower of Bharathi, is the most celebrated and outstanding poet in Tamil Nadu. He followed Bharati in making poetry very popular and in using it as the best instrument to inspire people. But he deviated from Bharati in many respects. Bharati believed in God but Bharathidhasan did not. While Bharati was preoccupied by the problems of the freedom struggle and other national interests, Bharathidhasan was particular in the development of the Tamil Nadu, Tamil language, Tamil people and Tamil culture. Among his literary works, Pandiyan Parisu (paantiyan paricu), Kudumba Vilakku (kutumpa vilakku) Tamil Ilakkam (Tamil iyakkam) and Azhakin Sirippu (alakin cirippu) are highly valuable.

Besides these two poets, Kannadhasan, Abddul Razan, Vairamuthu, Mudiyarasan, Surada, Tamizh Azhagan, K. C. S. Arunachalam, Ponnadiyan, and Mu enrich the field of Tamil poetry. Metha and others. Kannadhasan’s Attanathi Athimanthi (aattanatti aatimanti) and Mangani (maankani) and Mudiyarasan’s Pungodi (puunkoti) are excellent works. Sudhanantha Bharathi is a living poet in Tamil Nadu. Sri Armband influences him. His work Bharatha Sakthi (baarata cakti) is very famous. This book won the Raja Rajan Award of one lakh rupees. This award was given by Tamil University, Tanjore.

Besides these works, there are a number of anthologies of poems published in this century. Several poems are being published in weekly and monthly magazines. Mullaicaram (mullaiccaram), Kavidhai (kavitai) and a few other journals give primary importance to poetry.

In this connection, mention should be made about the new or modern poetry. The modern poets, Pichaimurthi Mani Vaidheswaran and others are interested in modern poetries. They are of the opinion that Tamils literary field needs new experiments and new developments and they believe that their attempt may contribute something to the Tamil literary field.


In general, grammar includes phonology, morphology and syntax. But the Tamil tradition seems to differ from this. The earliest grammar Tholkappiyam (tolkaappiyam) deals no only with phonology, morphology and syntax but also with personal and impersonal, internal and external aspects of life, literary beauties, behavioral aspects of human life, Tamil linguistic traditions, etc., and this portion is termed Porulathikaram (porulatikaaram).

According to the tradition that Tholkappiyar followed a grammar is three folded (1) Ezhuthu (eluttatikaaram), sounds and letters (2) Col. (collatikaaram), words (3) Porul (porulatikaaram), meaning.

Later on new traditions came in. According to the new tradition, a grammar is five folded: (1) Ezhuthu (eluttu), (2) Col (col), (3) Porul (porul), (4) Yappu (yaappu), versification, and (5) Ani (ani), literary beauties).


Tholkappiyam (tolkaapiyam), the earliest grammar available in Tamil deals with phonology and morphophonemics in the firs part known as eluttatikaaram. It deals with morphology and syntax in the second part known as collatikaaram. In the third part known as Porulatikaaram, it deals with the subject matter of literature, some literary and linguistic traditions, etc. This grammar is considered to be written in the early pre-Christian era.

Nannul (nannuul): Next to Tholkappiyam, Nannul is the outstanding work in the field of Tamil grammars. Saint Pavananti who lived around the 13th century CE wrote this grammar. This grammar contains only Ezhuthu and Col. The first chapter Ezhuthu deals with phonology and morphophonemics and the second chapter Col deals with morphology and syntax.

Tamil Diglossia

There is a wide gap between spoken and written Tamil. Spoken Tamil is used for face-to-face communication or in informal occasions whereas written Tamil is used during official speeches and other formal occasions. Spoken Tami is not generally written; thus, while writing, the written form is invariably used. While there is a wide gap between the two forms of Tamil, there are certain rules the use of which would help the learner to derive one form of language from another.

Tamil Studies in India and Sri Lanka

There are number of universities in India and Sri Lanka which have facilities for Tamil Studies. In India (excepting Tamil Nadu) and Sri Lanka the following institutions have programs for Tamil studies:

1. Punjab University, Chandigarh
2. Punjab University, Patiala
3. Delhi University, Delhi
4. Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh
5. Agra University, Agra
6. Lucknow University, Lucknow
7. Allahabad University, Allahabad
8. Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
9. Calcutta University, Calcutta
10. Osmania University, Hyderabad
11. Sri Krishna Devaraya University, Anantapur
12. Sri Venkateswara University, Thirupati
13. Karnataka University, Dharwad
14. Mysore University, Mysore
15. Calicut University, Chittoor
16. University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram

In Sri Lanka:

17. University of Jaffna
18. University of Colombo
19. Peradeniya University

In the US there are about ten universities that have programs for Tamil language and literatures, and culture etc.

Culture and People Quiz

There are twenty five questions for the learners to check their understanding of the above write-up. Choose the correct answer for the question.

What is the name of the temple conducted by Rajarajan in Tanjavur?

Natarajar temple
Kankai Konta coolapuram
Tancaip periya kooyil

Which is the earliest grammar in Tamil?


Which of the following is correct?

Spoken Tamil differs from written Tamil and vice-versa
Spoken Tamil and written Tamil are one and the same

Which is the Tamil novel that won the Gnana Peeth Award?

Pavai vilakku

Arattupal in Thirukkural could be somewhat equated with:


What is the equivalent expression in Tamil for Good morning in English?

Siva Siva

What is Nannul?

It is a drams
It is a novel
It is a grammar book

Which of the following is correct?

Spoken Tamil can be derived from written and vice-versa
Spoken Tamil cannot be derived from written Tamil
Written Tamil cannot be derived from spoken Tamil

Natakam or Kuthu is mainly concerned with:

Musical Instruments
Musical Notes

A celebrated work of Buddhism is:


Pancali Sapatam was written by:


The Raja Rajan award was given to Suthananta Bharati for his work:

Bhartha Sakthi
Kannan Pattu

Kancippattu sarees are produced from the town called:


The very first novel published in Tamil was:

Pirathapa Muthaliar Sarithiram
Kallo Kaviyamo
Pavai Vilakku

The saint Ilango wrote the epic:


The Tamil language belongs to the:

Central Dravidian sub-group
North Dravidian sub-group
South Dravidian sub-group

The recorded history of the Tamil literature can be broadly grouped under:

five periods
seven periods
four periods

The author of Thirukkural is:


The Nayanmars are the saints of:


A collection of eight anthologies of the Sangam classics is called:


The Tamil festival connected with the harvest is:


Ancient Tamil Nadu was divided into three major regions called:

Cheranadu, Cholanadu, Pandiyanadu
Cholanadu, Ramnadu, Pandiyanadu
Cheranadu, Ramnadu, Pandiyanadu

The phrase, Poy vaukiren is used:

at the time of meeting
at the time of eating
at the time of departure

An anthology of ten poems in Sangam Classics is named:


Married women in Tamil Nadu wear:

Valayal as the symbol for marriage
Tali as the symbol for marriage
Mukkuthi as the symbol for marriage