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