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