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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a people in South Asia. Approximately 37 million Tamils live in India (1971, estimate), mainly in the state of Tamil Nadu. Tamils also inhabit Sri Lanka (2.5 million people), Malaysia (600,000), Burma (180,000), Singapore (90,000), and Australia and Oceania (35,000). The Tamils speaks the Tamil language. Most Tamils are Hindus; some are Muslims.

The Tamils belong to the South Indian race and are thus related to the Dravidians. The Tamil kingdoms of Chola, Chera, and Pandya were known in the third century B.C. In the 14th century A.D., Tamil Nadu (“Land of Tamil”) became part of the Vijayanagar state; in the 17th century it separated into a number of principalities.

At the present time, capitalism is developing intensively among the Tamils, and large proletarian and national bourgeois classes have come into existence. Approximately 80 percent of the Tamils are engaged in agriculture. The traditional crafts are silk weaving, leatherworking, and metal casting. Arts that have been well developed among the Tamils include architecture, the sculpting of bronze figurines, the classical dance, and the folk theater.


Narody Iuzhnoi Azii. Moscow, 1963.
Alekseev, V. I., and V. A. Makarenko. Strana tamilov. Moscow, 1965.
Shaposhnikova, L. V. Gody i dni Madrasa. Moscow, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
India, which once wielded undisputed leverage over the Sri Lankan conflict, maintained a largely hands-off approach over the last two years because of the concerns of Tamils at home.
There are Tamils who seem to hold the Tamil Eelam (a separate Tamil state) cause close to their hearts even while away from the battleground.
Tamils with placards and posters at Speaker's Corner in Coventry, and (inset) Ariyar Atnam.
Using donated space at the University of Minnesota, Pradeepa Jeeva and Chamindika Wanduragala, who in 2001 founded the arts organization Diaspora Flow, invited artists like queer Tamil performer D'Lo and included auctions of paintings by Wanduragala and her mother.
President Chandrika Kumaratunga has proposed giving more autonomy to all the nation's regions, including one dominated by Tamils.
But rather than kill herself to avoid capture, as her superiors in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had ordered, Renuka bandaged her bloody chest and waited to be picked up by the Sri Lankan army.
Peter West is to meet representatives of the government, the opposition and Tamil political leaders.
As many as 50,000 Tamils have reportedly requested asylum in Europe, with most going to West Germany, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
It also said that a plebiscite should be conducted in Sri Lanka on the Tamil Eelam issue.
R., was an Indian legend, matinee idol, filmmaker and politician, who served as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for ten years, between 1977 and 1987.
The 12 Tamils have contributed to maintaining an efficient and complex system in Switzerland over the years with the sole purpose of illegally raising funds and then channelling them through tortuous routes to the LTTE.