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Influential Tamils Individuals: The Top 10 Names to Know

Tamils, a major ethnic group native to the southern part of India and Sri Lanka, have contributed immensely to various fields, including entertainment, politics, and sports. Here are ten of the most popular celebrities and notable people from Tamil ethnicity:

  • Rajinikanth: One of the most iconic actors in Indian cinema, Rajinikanth is known for his stylish performances and larger-than-life persona. He has a massive fan following and has acted in numerous blockbuster movies.
  • A.R. Rahman: A world-renowned music composer and singer, A.R. Rahman has won several awards, including two Academy Awards. He is known for his fusion of Indian classical music with electronic music.
  • M.S. Subbulakshmi: Considered one of the greatest Carnatic vocalists of all time, M.S. Subbulakshmi mesmerized audiences with her beautiful voice and soulful renditions of devotional songs.
  • Kamal Haasan: An actor, filmmaker, and politician, Kamal Haasan is a versatile personality in the Indian film industry. He has acted in several critically acclaimed movies and has received numerous awards for his performances.
  • Hema Malini: A celebrated Bollywood actress, Hema Malini is acclaimed for her graceful dance performances and elegant screen presence. She is also a successful film producer and a politician.
  • Lakshmi Mittal: A prominent Indian steel magnate, Lakshmi Mittal is one of the richest individuals globally. He is the chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal, the largest steelmaking company in the world.
  • Sundar Pichai: The CEO of Google and Alphabet Inc., Sundar Pichai is a leading figure in the tech industry. He has played a crucial role in the development of popular products like Google Chrome and Android.
  • Kamala Harris: Born to a Tamil mother and Jamaican father, Kamala Harris made history by becoming the first woman, the first African American, and the first Asian American to be elected as the Vice President of the United States.
  • M. Karunanidhi: A prominent politician and writer, M. Karunanidhi was a five-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. He played a significant role in Tamil Nadu politics and was a respected leader among Tamils.
  • Vishwanathan Anand: An internationally renowned chess grandmaster, Vishwanathan Anand has won multiple world chess championships. He is regarded as one of the greatest chess players of all time.

These individuals, through their talents and achievements, have not only brought pride to the Tamil community but have also made a significant impact in their respective fields, influencing and inspiring people all over the world.

The Tamil people, also known as Tamilar (Tamil: தமிழர், romanized: Tamiḻar, pronounced [t̪amiɻaɾ] in the singular or தமிழர்கள், Tamiḻarkaḷ, [t̪amiɻaɾɡaɭ] in the plural), Tamilians, or simply Tamils ( TAM-ilz, TAHM-), are a Dravidian ethnolinguistic group who natively speak the Tamil language and trace their ancestry mainly to India's southern state of Tamil Nadu, the union territory of Puducherry, and to Sri Lanka. The Tamil language is one of the world's longest-surviving classical languages, with over 2000 years of Tamil literature, including the Sangam poems, which were composed between 300 BCE and 300 CE. People who speak Tamil as their mother tongue and are born in Tamil clans are considered Tamils. 
Tamils constitute 5.9% of the population in India (concentrated mainly in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry), 15% in Sri Lanka (excluding Eelam  Moors), 7% in Malaysia, and 5% in Singapore.
From the 4th century BCE, urbanisation and mercantile activity along the western and eastern coasts of Tamilakam what is today Kerala and Tamil Nadu led to the development of four large Tamil empires, 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 Eelam Tamils, was once one of the strongest kingdoms of Sri Lanka and controlled much of the north of the island.
Tamils were noted for their influence on regional trade throughout the Indian Ocean. Artefacts marking the presence of Roman traders demonstrate that direct trade was active between Ancient Rome and Southern India, and the Pandyas were recorded as having sent at least two embassies directly to the Roman Emperor Augustus in Rome. The Pandyas and Cholas were historically active in Sri Lanka. The Chola dynasty successfully invaded several areas in southeast Asia, including the powerful Srivijaya and the city-state of Kedah. Medieval Tamil guilds and trading organizations like the Ayyavole and Manigramam played an important role in Southeast Asian trading networks. Pallava traders and religious leaders travelled to Southeast Asia and played an important role in the cultural Indianisation of the region. Scripts brought by Tamil traders to Southeast Asia, like the Grantha and Pallava scripts, induced the development of many Southeast Asian scripts such as Khmer, Javanese, Kawi, Baybayin, and Thai.
Tamil visual art is dominated by stylized Temple architecture in major centres and the productions of images of deities in stone and bronze. Chola bronzes, especially the Nataraja sculptures of the Chola period, have become notable symbols of Hinduism. A major part of Tamil performing arts is its classical form of dance, the Bharatanatyam, whereas the popular forms are known as Koothu. Classical Tamil music is dominated by the Carnatic genre, while gaana and dappankuthu are also popular genres. Tamil is an official language in Sri Lanka and Singapore. In 2004, Tamil was the first of six to be designated as a classical language of India.The vast majority of Tamil people are Hindus and many follow a particular way of religious practice that includes the veneration of a plethora of village deities and ancient Tamil gods. A smaller number are Christians and Muslims, and a small Jain community survives from the classical period as well. A smaller number are Buddhists. Tamil cuisine is informed by varied vegetarian and non-vegetarian items, usually spiced with locally available spices. English historian and broadcaster Michael Wood called the Tamils the last surviving classical civilization on Earth, because the Tamils have preserved substantial elements of their past regarding belief, culture, music, and literature despite the influence of globalization.

Most Famous Tamils People

Tamils’s Three Pinnacle Historical Inheritances

The Tamils, one of the oldest and most vibrant communities in the world, have a rich cultural heritage that spans thousands of years. With their origins in the Indian subcontinent, the Tamils have made significant contributions in various fields including literature, art, music, and science. Their traditions, customs, and historical inheritances continue to shape and influence the Tamil community today. Let’s explore three of the most well-known historical inheritances associated with the Tamils heritage.

1. Sangam Literature:

  • The Sangam literature, believed to have been written between 300 BCE and 300 CE, is the oldest known literature in the Tamil language.
  • Composed by numerous Tamil poets, these works cover a wide range of subjects including love, war, ethics, and philosophy.
  • The Sangam period is considered a golden age of Tamil literature, preserving the rich cultural heritage of the Tamils.

2. Classical Carnatic Music:

  • Carnatic music, one of the oldest music systems in the world, has its roots in the Tamil region and has been nurtured by Tamil musicians for centuries.
  • Known for its intricate melodies, rhythmic patterns, and improvisation, Carnatic music is a deeply spiritual art form that has captivated audiences worldwide.
  • Renowned Tamil composers such as Purandara Dasa, Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar, and Syama Sastri have made significant contributions to the development of Carnatic music.

3. Dravidian Architecture:

  • Dravidian architecture, characterized by its majestic temples and intricate sculptures, is closely associated with the Tamils.
  • These architectural wonders, built during the Chola, Pandya, and Pallava dynasties, showcase the mastery of Tamil craftsmen and their devotion to the divine.
  • The Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur and the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai are prime examples of the grandeur and beauty of Dravidian architecture.

These are just a few examples of the vast historical inheritances associated with the Tamils heritage. From literature to music to architecture, the Tamils have left an indelible mark on human history. Their contributions continue to be celebrated and cherished, ensuring that their rich cultural heritage is preserved for generations to come.

Factsheet About Tamils People

Here is a simple HTML table that presents some facts about the demographics and distribution of the Tamil ethnicity:

“`html

Country/Region Population Percentage of Total Population
India 80,086,069 6.1%
Sri Lanka 2,460,000 11.2%
Malaysia 2,200,000 7.2%
Singapore 336,000 5.9%
Canada 300,000 0.8%
United Kingdom 230,000 0.3%
United States 200,000 0.1%

“`

Feel free to customize the table to include additional countries or add more data points if needed.

The Tamil people, also known as Tamilar (Tamil: தமிழர், romanized: Tamiḻar, pronounced [t̪amiɻaɾ] in the singular or தமிழர்கள், Tamiḻarkaḷ, [t̪amiɻaɾɡaɭ] in the plural), Tamilians, or simply Tamils ( TAM-ilz, TAHM-), are a Dravidian ethnolinguistic group who natively speak the Tamil language and trace their ancestry mainly to India's southern state of Tamil Nadu, the union territory of Puducherry, and to Sri Lanka. The Tamil language is one of the world's longest-surviving classical languages, with over 2000 years of Tamil literature, including the Sangam poems, which were composed between 300 BCE and 300 CE. People who speak Tamil as their mother tongue and are born in Tamil clans are considered Tamils. 
Tamils constitute 5.9% of the population in India (concentrated mainly in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry), 15% in Sri Lanka (excluding Eelam  Moors), 7% in Malaysia, and 5% in Singapore.
From the 4th century BCE, urbanisation and mercantile activity along the western and eastern coasts of Tamilakam what is today Kerala and Tamil Nadu led to the development of four large Tamil empires, 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 Eelam Tamils, was once one of the strongest kingdoms of Sri Lanka and controlled much of the north of the island.
Tamils were noted for their influence on regional trade throughout the Indian Ocean. Artefacts marking the presence of Roman traders demonstrate that direct trade was active between Ancient Rome and Southern India, and the Pandyas were recorded as having sent at least two embassies directly to the Roman Emperor Augustus in Rome. The Pandyas and Cholas were historically active in Sri Lanka. The Chola dynasty successfully invaded several areas in southeast Asia, including the powerful Srivijaya and the city-state of Kedah. Medieval Tamil guilds and trading organizations like the Ayyavole and Manigramam played an important role in Southeast Asian trading networks. Pallava traders and religious leaders travelled to Southeast Asia and played an important role in the cultural Indianisation of the region. Scripts brought by Tamil traders to Southeast Asia, like the Grantha and Pallava scripts, induced the development of many Southeast Asian scripts such as Khmer, Javanese, Kawi, Baybayin, and Thai.
Tamil visual art is dominated by stylized Temple architecture in major centres and the productions of images of deities in stone and bronze. Chola bronzes, especially the Nataraja sculptures of the Chola period, have become notable symbols of Hinduism. A major part of Tamil performing arts is its classical form of dance, the Bharatanatyam, whereas the popular forms are known as Koothu. Classical Tamil music is dominated by the Carnatic genre, while gaana and dappankuthu are also popular genres. Tamil is an official language in Sri Lanka and Singapore. In 2004, Tamil was the first of six to be designated as a classical language of India.The vast majority of Tamil people are Hindus and many follow a particular way of religious practice that includes the veneration of a plethora of village deities and ancient Tamil gods. A smaller number are Christians and Muslims, and a small Jain community survives from the classical period as well. A smaller number are Buddhists. Tamil cuisine is informed by varied vegetarian and non-vegetarian items, usually spiced with locally available spices. English historian and broadcaster Michael Wood called the Tamils the last surviving classical civilization on Earth, because the Tamils have preserved substantial elements of their past regarding belief, culture, music, and literature despite the influence of globalization.

The Ancient Heritage of Tamils Ethnic Groups

References to the Tamils Ethnic Group

Here are some references and resources to dig deeper into the Tamil ethnic group:

  • “The Tamil Genocide by Sri Lanka: The Global Failure to Protect Tamil Rights Under International Law” by Francis A. Boyle: This book provides an in-depth analysis of the civil war in Sri Lanka and the systemic human rights abuses suffered by the Tamil people. It explores the history, religious and cultural background, and the legal aspects surrounding the Tamil genocide.
  • “The Island of Blood: Frontline Reports from Sri Lanka’s Civil War” by Anita Pratap: This book describes the experiences of war correspondents in Sri Lanka during the civil war, including the plight of the Tamil people. It offers first-hand accounts and insights into the conflict and its impact on the Tamil community.
  • “The History of the Tamils” by Kamil V. Zvelebil: This book provides a comprehensive overview of the history, culture, language, and literature of the Tamil people. It explores the ancient origins of the Tamil civilization and its development over time.
  • “Tamil Nationalism: A Study of the Political Ideas of the Tamil Separatist Movement” by A.J. V. Chandrakanthan: This book delves into the history and political aspirations of the Tamil nationalist movement in Sri Lanka. It explores the root causes of Tamil separatism and the evolution of the movement over the years.

Additionally, various academic journals, research papers, and documentaries provide valuable insights into the Tamil ethnic group. Some online resources include:

  • JSTOR: JSTOR is a digital library that provides access to a vast collection of scholarly articles on various subjects, including Tamil history, culture, and politics.
  • BBC News: BBC News offers numerous articles and reports on the Tamil ethnic group, particularly with regard to the Sri Lankan civil war and its aftermath.
  • TamilNation: TamilNation is an online platform that discusses the history, culture, and politics of the Tamil people. It features articles, documents, and resources related to the Tamil struggle for self-determination.
  • UNHCR: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) website provides access to reports and publications on the human rights situation of the Tamil people, particularly in Sri Lanka.

Explore other famous people with Blackfoot, Budu and Ovambo roots, showcasing the diversity of ethnic backgrounds. Investigating influential individuals with diverse ethnic backgrounds tied to these Tamils origins unveils the interwoven tapestry of global cultures and their impactful contributions to the world.

As we continue to celebrate diversity and embrace the richness of different cultures, let us honor and draw inspiration from these remarkable individuals who have shaped our world. Thank you for joining us on this captivating journey.

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