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Tamil Nadu is one of the 29 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai (formerly known as Madras). Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Puducherry and the South Indian states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. It is bounded by the Eastern Ghats on the north, by the Nilgiri, the Anamalai Hills, and Kerala on the west, by the Bay of Bengal in the east, by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait on the southeast, and by the Indian Ocean on the south. The state shares a maritime border with the nation of Sri Lanka.

Tamil Nadu is the eleventh-largest state in India by area and the sixth-most populous. The state was ranked sixth among states in India according to the Human Development Index in 2011, with the second-largest state economy. Tamil Nadu is the second largest state economy in India with ?4,789 billion (US$71 billion) in gross domestic product. The state has the highest number (10.56 per cent) of business enterprises and stands second in total employment (9.97 per cent) in India, compared with the population share of about 6 per cent. Tamil Nadu was ranked as one of the top seven developed states in India based on a "Multidimensional Development Index" in a 2013 report published by a panel headed by current RBI governor Raghuram Rajan. Its official language is Tamil, which is one of the longest-surviving classical languages in the world.

Tamil Nadu is home to many natural resources. In addition, its people have developed and continue classical arts, classical music, and classical literature. Historic buildings and religious sites include Hindu temples of Dravidian architecture, hill stations, beach resorts, multi-religious pilgrimage sites, and eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

History

Prehistory

Archaeological evidence points to this area being one of the longest continuous habitations in the Indian peninsula. In Adichanallur, 24 km (15 mi) from Tirunelveli, archaeologists from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) unearthed 169 clay urns containing human skulls, skeletons, bones, husks, grains of rice, charred rice and celts of the Neolithic period, 3,800 years ago. The ASI archaeologists have proposed that the script used at that site is "very rudimentary" Tamil Brahmi. Adichanallur has been announced as an archaeological site for further excavation and studies. About 60 per cent of the total epigraphical inscriptions found by the ASI in India are from Tamil Nadu, and most of these are in the Tamil language. Mythical traditions dictate that Lord Shiva himself taught sage Agastya this language. Sage Agastya is considered to be the father of Tamil literature and compiled the first Tamil grammar called Agathiyam, but the scripts of Agathiyam no longer exist.

Indus valley script between 2000 and 1500 BC

A Neolithic stone celt (a hand-held axe) with the Indus script on it was discovered at Sembian-Kandiyur near Mayiladuthurai in Tamil Nadu. According to epigraphist Iravatham Mahadevan, this was the first datable artefact bearing the Indus script to be found in Tamil Nadu. Mahadevan claimed that the find was evidence of the use of the Harappan language, and therefore that the "Neolithic people of the Tamil country spoke a Dravidian language". The date of the celt was estimated at between 1500 BC and 2000 BC.

Sangam period (300 BC – AD 300)

The early history of the people and rulers of Tamil Nadu is a topic in Tamil literary sources known as Sangam literature. Numismatic, archaeological and literary sources corroborate that the Sangam period lasted for about six centuries, from 300 BC to AD 300.

Three dynasties, namely the Chera, Chola and Pandya, ruled the area of present-day Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The Chera ruled the whole of present-day Kerala and parts of western Tamil Nadu comprising Coimbatore, Dharmapuri, Karur, Salem and Erode districts from the capital of Vanchi Muthur (thought to be modern day Karur). The Chola dynasty ruled the northern and central parts of Tamil Nadu from their capital, Uraiyur; and the Pandya dynasty ruled southern Tamil Nadu, from capitals at Korkai and Madurai.

All three dynasties had extensive trade relationships with Rome, Greece, Egypt, Ceylon, Phoenicia, Arabia, Mesopotamia and Persia. Trade flourished in commodities such as spices, ivory, pearls, beads and gems. Chera traded extensively from Muziris on the west coast, Chola from Arikamedu and Puhar and Pandya through Korkai port. A Greco-Roman trade and travel document, the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (c. AD 60 – 100) gives a description of the Tamil country and its ports.

Besides these three dynasties, the Sangam era Tamilakam (Tamil homeland) was also divided into various provinces named 'nadu', meaning 'country'. Sangam literature refers these provinces as "koduntamil mandalam" which were not exactly political or socio-cultural units but linguistic agglomerations like Kongu Nadu, Puzhinadu, Thondai Nadu, Nanjilnadu, Ay Nadu and Venadu.

Between the 3rd and 6th centuries AD, the three Tamil kingdoms were overwhelmed by the Kalabhras. The period of their rule is sometimes referred to as the "Dark Age" in Tamil history and little is known about it. The Kalabhras were expelled by the Pallavas, Mutharaiyar, Badami Chalukyas and Pandyas in the 6th century.

Bhakti Movement

The Bhakti movement originated in Tamil speaking region of south India and spread northwards through India. The Bhakti Movement was a rapid growth of bhakti beginning in this region with the Saiva Nayanars (4th–10th centuries) and the Vaisnava Alvars who spread bhakti poetry and devotion. The Alwars and Nayanmars were instrumental in propagating the Bhakti tradition.

Medieval period (600–1300)

Kallanai or Grand Anicut, an ancient dam built on the Kaveri River in Tiruchirappalli by Karikala Chola around the 2nd century AD

Shore Temple built by the Pallavas at Mamallapuram during the 8th century, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site

During the 4th to 8th centuries, Tamil Nadu saw the rise of the Pallava dynasty under Mahendravarman I and his son Mamalla Narasimhavarman I.[43] The Pallavas ruled parts of South India with Kanchipuram as their capital. Dravidian architecture reached its peak during Pallava rule. Narasimhavarman II built the Shore Temple which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Much later, the Pallavas were replaced by the Chola dynasty as the dominant kingdom in the 9th century and they in turn were replaced by the Pandyan Dynasty in the 13th century. The Pandyan capital Madurai was in the deep south away from the coast. They had extensive trade links with the south east Asian maritime empires of Srivijaya and their successors, as well as contacts, even formal diplomatic contacts, reaching as far as the Roman Empire. During the 13th century, Marco Polo mentioned the Pandyas as the richest empire in existence. Temples such as the Meenakshi Amman Temple at Madurai and Nellaiappar Temple at Tirunelveli are the best examples of Pandyan temple architecture.[44] The Pandyas excelled in both trade and literature. They controlled the pearl fisheries along the south coast of India, between Sri Lanka and India, which produced some of the finest pearls in the known ancient world.

Chola Empire

The Chola Empire at its greatest extent, during the reign of Rajendra Chola I in 1030

During the 9th century, the Chola dynasty was once again revived by Vijayalaya Chola, who established Thanjavur as Chola's new capital by conquering central Tamil Nadu from Mutharaiyar and the Pandya king Varagunavarman II. Aditya I and his son Parantaka I expanded the kingdom to the northern parts of Tamil Nadu by defeating the last Pallava king, Aparajitavarman. Parantaka Chola II expanded the Chola empire into what is now interior Andhra Pradesh and coastal Karnataka, while under the great Rajaraja Chola and his son Rajendra Chola, the Cholas rose to a notable power in south east Asia. Now the Chola Empire stretched as far as Bengal and Sri Lanka. At its peak, the empire spanned almost 3,600,000 km2 (1,400,000 sq mi). Rajaraja Chola conquered all of peninsular south India and parts of Sri Lanka. Rajendra Chola's navy went even further, occupying coasts from Burma (now ) to Vietnam, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Sumatra, Java, Malaya, Philippines[45] in South East Asia and Pegu islands. He defeated Mahipala, the king of Bengal, and to commemorate his victory he built a new capital and named it Gangaikonda Cholapuram.

The Cholas were prolific temple builders right from the times of the first medieval king Vijayalaya Chola. These are the earliest specimen of Dravidian temples under the Cholas. His son Aditya I built several temples around the Kanchi and Kumbakonam regions. The Cholas went on to becoming a great power and built some of the most imposing religious structures in their lifetime and they also renovated temples and buildings of the Pallavas, acknowledging their common socio-religious and cultural heritage. The celebrated Nataraja temple at Chidambaram and the Sri Ranganathaswami Temple at Srirangam held special significance for the Cholas which have been mentioned in their inscriptions as their tutelary deities. Rajaraja Chola I and his son Rajendra Chola built temples such as the Brihadeshvara Temple of Thanjavur and Brihadeshvara Temple of Gangaikonda Cholapuram, the Airavatesvara Temple of Darasuram and the Sarabeswara (Shiva) Temple, also called the Kampahareswarar Temple at Thirubhuvanam, the last two temples being located near Kumbakonam. The first three of the above four temples are titled Great Living Chola Temples among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Architecture from Chola period From left to right: Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram; Natarajan, Shiva as celestial dancer; and Parvathi, the consort of Shiva

The Chola period is also remarkable for its sculptures and bronzes all over the world. Among the existing specimens in museums around the world and in the temples of southern India the fine figures of Siva in various forms, Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi, and the Siva saints are the examples of Chola fgbronze. Though conforming generally to the iconographic conventions established by long tradition, the sculptors worked with great freedom in the 11th and the 12th centuries to achieve a classic grace and grandeur. The best example of this can be seen in the form of Nataraja the Divine Dancer . This is awesome period for Chola Empire.

Vijayanagar and Nayak period (1336–1646)

The Muslim invasions of southern India triggered the establishment of the Hindu Vijayanagara Empire with Vijayanagara in modern Karnataka as its capital. The Vijayanagara empire eventually conquered the entire Tamil country by c. 1370 and ruled for almost two centuries until its defeat in the Battle of Talikota in 1565 by a confederacy of Deccan sultanates. Subsequently, as the Vijayanagara Empire went into decline after the mid-16th century, many local rulers, called Nayaks, succeeded in gaining the trappings of independence. This eventually resulted in the further weakening of the empire; many Nayaks declared themselves independent, among whom the Nayaks of Madurai and Tanjore were the first to declare their independence, despite initially maintaining loose links with the Vijayanagara kingdom.[44] The Nayaks of Madurai and Nayaks of Thanjavur were the most prominent of Nayaks in the 17th century. They reconstructed some of the well-known temples in Tamil Nadu such as the Meenakshi Temple.

Power struggles of the 18th century (1692–1801)

By the early 18th century, the political scene in Tamil Nadu saw a major change-over and was under the control of many minor rulers aspiring to be independent. The fall of the Vijayanagara empire and the Chandragiri Nayakas gave the sultanate of Golconda a chance to expand into the Tamil heartland. When the sultanate was incorporated into the Mughal Empire in 1688, the northern part of current-day Tamil Nadu was administrated by the nawab of the Carnatic, who had his seat in Arcot from 1715 onward. Meanwhile, to the south, the fall of the Thanjavur Nayaks led to a short lived Thanjavur Maratha kingdom. The fall of the Madurai Nayaks brought up many small Nayakars of southern Tamil Nadu, who ruled small parcels of land called palayams. The chieftains of these Palayams were known as Palaiyakkarar (or 'polygar' as called by British) and were ruling under the nawabs of the Carnatic.

Fort Dansborg at Tharangambadi built by the Danish

Europeans started to establish trade centers during the 17th century in the eastern coastal regions. Around 1609, the Dutch established a settlement in Pulicat,[46] while the Danes had their establishment in Tharangambadi also known as Tranquebar.[47] In 1639, the British, under the East India Company, established a settlement further south of Pulicat, in present-day Chennai. British constructed Fort St. George[48] and established a trading post at Madras.[49] By 1693, the French established in trading posts at Pondichéry. The British and French were competing to expand the trade in the northern parts of Tamil Nadu which also witnessed many battles like Battle of Wandiwash as part of Seven Years' War.[50] British reduced the French dominions in India to Puducherry. Nawabs of the Carnatic bestowed tax revenue collection rights on the East India Company for defeating the Kingdom of Mysore. Muhammad Ali Khan Wallajah surrendered much of his territory to the East India Company which firmly established the British in the northern parts. In 1762, a tripartite treaty was signed between Thanjavur Maratha, Carnatic and the British by which Thanjavur became a vassal of the Nawab of the Carnatic which eventually ceded to British.

In the south, Nawabs granted taxation rights to the British which led to conflicts between British and the Palaiyakkarar, which resulted in series of wars called Polygar war to establish independent states by the aspiring Palaiyakkarar. Puli Thevar was one of the earliest opponents of the British rule in South India.[51] Thevar's prominent exploits were his confrontations with Marudhanayagam, who later rebelled against the British in the late 1750s and early 1760s. Rani Velu Nachiyar, was the first woman freedom fighter of India and Queen of Sivagangai.[52] She was drawn to war after her husband Muthu Vaduganatha Thevar (1750–1772), King of Sivaganga was murdered at Kalayar Kovil temple by British. Before her death, Queen Velu Nachi granted powers to the Maruthu brothers to rule Sivaganga.[53] Kattabomman (1760–1799), Palaiyakkara chief of Panchalakurichi who fought the British in the First Polygar War.[54] He was captured by the British at the end of the war and hanged near Kayattar in 1799. Veeran Sundaralingam (1700–1800) was the General of Kattabomman Nayakan's palayam, who died in the process of blowing up a British ammunition dump in 1799 which killed more than 150 British soldiers to save Kattapomman Palace. Oomaithurai, younger brother of Kattabomman, took asylum under the Maruthu brothers, Periya Marudhu and Chinna Marudhu and raised an army[55]. They formed a coalition with Dheeran Chinnamalai and Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja which fought the British in Second Polygar Wars. Dheeran Chinnamalai (1756–1805), Polygar chieftain of Kongu and feudatory of Tipu Sultan who fought the British in the Second Polygar War. After winning the Polygar wars in 1801, the East India Company consolidated most of southern India into the Madras Presidency.

During British rule (1801–1947)

At the beginning of the 19th century, the British firmly established governance over the entire Tamil Nadu. The Vellore mutiny on 10 July 1806 was the first instance of a large-scale and violent mutiny by Indian sepoys against the British East India Company, predating the Indian Rebellion of 1857 by half a century.[56] The revolt, which took place in Vellore, was brief, lasting only one full day, but brutal as mutineers broke into the Vellore fort and killed or wounded 200 British troops, before they were subdued by reinforcements from nearby Arcot.[57][58] The British crown took over the control governance from the Company and the remainder of the 19th century did not witness any native resistance until the beginning of 20th century Indian Independence movements. During the period of governor George Harris Harris (1854–1859), measures were taken to improve education and increase representation of Indians in the administration. Legislative powers given to the Governor's council under the Indian Councils Act 1861 and 1909 Minto-Morley Reforms eventually led to the establishment of the Madras Legislative Council. Failure of the summer monsoons and administrative shortcomings of the Ryotwari system resulted in two severe famine in the Madras Presidency, the Great Famine of 1876–78 and the Indian famine of 1896–97. The famine led to migration of people as bonded labours for British to various countries which eventually formed the present Tamil diaspora.

India (1947–present)

When India became independent in 1947, Madras presidency became Madras state, comprising present-day Tamil Nadu, coastal Andhra Pradesh up to Ganjam district in Orissa, South Canara district Karnataka, and parts of Kerala. The state was subsequently split up along linguistic lines. In 1969, Madras State was renamed Tamil Nadu, meaning "Tamil country".

Geography

Tamil Nadu covers an area of 130,058 km2 (50,216 sq mi), and is the eleventh largest state in India. The bordering states are Kerala to the west, Karnataka to the north west and Andhra Pradesh to the north. To the east is the Bay of Bengal and the state encircles the union territory of Puducherry. The southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula is Kanyakumari which is the meeting point of the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal, and the Indian Ocean.

The western, southern and the north western parts are hilly and rich in vegetation. The Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats meet at the Nilgiri hills. The Western Ghats traverse the entire western border with Kerala, effectively blocking much of the rain bearing clouds of the south west monsoon from entering the state. The eastern parts are fertile coastal plains and the northern parts are a mix of hills and plains. The central and the south central regions are arid plains and receive less rainfall than the other regions.

Tamil Nadu has a coastline of about 1,076 km (669 mi) which is the country's second longest coastline. Tamil Nadu's coastline bore the brunt of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami when it hit India, which caused 7,793 direct deaths in the state. Tamil Nadu falls mostly in a region of low seismic hazard with the exception of the western border areas that lie in a low to moderate hazard zone; as per the 2002 Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) map, Tamil Nadu falls in Zones II & III. Historically, parts of this region have experienced seismic activity in the M5.0 range.

Climate

Tamil Nadu is mostly dependent on monsoon rains, and thereby is prone to droughts when the monsoons fail. The climate of the state ranges from dry sub-humid to semi-arid. The state has two distinct periods of rainfall:

The annual rainfall of the state is about 945 mm (37.2 in) of which 48 per cent is through the north east monsoon, and 32 per cent through the south west monsoon. Since the state is entirely dependent on rains for recharging its water resources, monsoon failures lead to acute water scarcity and severe drought.[61] Tamil Nadu is divided into seven agro-climatic zones: north east, north west, west, southern, high rainfall, high altitude hilly, and Kaveri Delta (the most fertile agricultural zone).

Flora and fauna

There are about 2000 species of wildlife that are native to Tamil Nadu. Protected areas provide safe habitat for large mammals including elephants, tigers, leopards, wild dogs, sloth bears, gaurs, lion-tailed macaques, Nilgiri langurs, Nilgiri tahrs, grizzled giant squirrels and sambar deer, resident and migratory birds such as cormorants, darters, herons, egrets, open-billed storks, spoonbills and white ibises, little grebes, Indian moorhen, black-winged stilts, a few migratory ducks and occasionally grey pelicans, marine species such as the dugongs, turtles, dolphins, Balanoglossus and a wide variety of fish and insects.

Indian Angiosperm diversity comprises 17,672 species with Tamil Nadu leading all states in the country, with 5640 species accounting for 1/3 of the total flora of India. This includes 1559 species of medicinal plants, 533 endemic species, 260 species of wild relatives of cultivated plants and 230 red-listed species. The Gymnosperm diversity of the country is 64 species of which Tamil Nadu has four indigenous species and about 60 introduced species. The Pteridophytes diversity of India includes 1022 species of which Tamil Nadu has about 184 species. Vast numbers of bryophytes, lichen, fungi, algae and bacteria are among the wild plant diversity of Tamil Nadu.

Common plant species include the state tree: palmyra palm, eucalyptus, rubber, cinchona, clumping bamboos (Bambusa arundinacea), common teak, Anogeissus latifolia, Indian laurel, grewia, and blooming trees like Indian labumusum, ardisia, and solanaceae. Rare and unique plant life includes Combretum ovalifolium, ebony (Diospyros nilagrica), Habenaria rariflora (orchid), Alsophila, Impatiens elegans, Ranunculus reniformis, and royal fern.

National and state parks

Tamil Nadu has a wide range of Biomes extending east from the South Western Ghats montane rain forests in the Western Ghats through the South Deccan Plateau dry deciduous forests and Deccan thorn scrub forests to tropical dry broadleaf forests and then to the beaches, estuaries, salt marshes, mangroves, and coral reefs of the Bay of Bengal. The state has a range of flora and fauna with many species and habitats. To protect this diversity of wildlife there are Protected areas of Tamil Nadu as well as biospheres which protect larger areas of natural habitat often include one or more National Parks. The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve established in 1986 is a marine ecosystem with seaweed and sea grass communities, coral reefs, salt marshes and mangrove forests. The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve located in the Western Ghats and Nilgiri Hills comprises part of adjoining states of Kerala and Karnataka. The Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve is in the south west of the state bordering Kerala in the Western Ghats. Tamil Nadu is home to five declared National parks located in Anamalai, Mudumalai, Mukurithi, Gulf of Mannar and Guindy located in the centre of Chennai city. Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, Mukurthi National Park and Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve are the tiger reserves in the state. Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve has the largest elephant population in India. Besides these bio reserves, there are many state and central run wild life sanctuaries for tiger, elephant and birds.

Religion

The state is home to the core schools of medieval and modern Hinduism as well as several non-mainstream Hindu movements. These include Nayanmars Saivism, Saiva Siddhanta, Alvar Vaishnavism, Sri Vaishnavism and Ayya-Vazhi. In modern times, well known figures for Hinduism in the state include Ramana Maharishi and the Kanchi Sankaracharya. All Hindu deities in various forms and a large number of village deities are worshiped by Hindus in Tamil Nadu. Murugan is considered to be the God of Tamil people. Tamil Nadu dominates the list of largest Hindu Temples in the world which include the Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple, Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple, Ekambareswarar Temple at Kanchipuram, Chidambaram Nataraja Temple, Tiruvannamalai Arunachaleswar Temple, Brihadeeswarar Temple at Tanjore among others. The emblem of Government of Tamil Nadu depicts the Gopuram (gateway tower) of the Andal Temple at Srivilliputhur.

Christians form 6 per cent of the population. Christians are mainly concentrated in the southern districts of Kanyakumari, Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli. St. Thomas Mount in Chennai, the place where St. Thomas, one of the disciples of Jesus, was believed to have been martyred, is an important pilgrimage site for Indian Christians. The Santhome Basilica, built atop the site widely believed by Christians to have been the tomb of St. Thomas, and the Vailankanni Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health are churches revered by Christians in India. The Church of South India and the Pentecostal Mission Church are headquartered in Chennai.

Muslims constitute close to 6% of the population of the state and are mainly concentrated in Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Nagappattinam, Vellore, Thoothukudi, Madurai and Tirunelveli districts. Among Muslims, 97.5 per cent are Sunni and the rest are Shias. The Sunnis adhere to either Hanafi or Shafi schools of thought. Erwadi in Ramanathapuram district and Nagore in Nagapattinam district are important pilgrimage sites for Muslims. Kazimar Big Mosque in Madurai and Karpudaiyar masjid in Kayalpatnam are among the earlier mosques in Tamil Nadu.

Samanars or Tamil Jains have a legacy dating back to 250 BC. They made significant contributions to Tamil literature. According to the 2001 census there were 83,359 Jains in Tamil Nadu. Jains make up 0.13 per cent of the population. Scheduled castes and Scheduled tribes comprise 19 per cent and 1 per cent of the population respectively. An anti-conversion law came into force in 2002 which law was repealed later in June 2004.

Language

Tamil is the official language of Tamil Nadu.[citation needed] English is also in common usage as an official language of India. When India adopted national standards, Tamil was the first language to be recognised as a classical language of India.[91] As of 2001 census, Tamil is spoken as the first language by 89.43 per cent of the population followed by Telugu by 5.65 per cent, Kannada by 2.68 per cent, Urdu by 1.51 per cent, Malayalam by 0.89 per cent and Marathi by 0.1 per cent.[77]

Education

Tamil Nadu is one of the most literate states in India.[92] Tamil Nadu has performed reasonably well in terms of literacy growth during the decade 2001–2011. A survey conducted by the Industry body Assocham ranks Tamil Nadu top among Indian states with about 100 per cent Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in primary and upper primary education. One of the basic limitations for improvement in education in the state is the rate of absence of teachers in public schools, which at 21.4 per cent is significant.[93] The analysis of primary school education in the state by Pratham shows a low drop-off rate but poor quality of state education compared to other states.[94] Tamil Nadu has 37 universities, 552 engineering colleges, List of engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu[95] 449 Polytechnic Colleges[96] and 566 arts and science colleges, 34335 elementary schools, 5167 high schools, 5054 higher secondary schools and 5000 hospitals. Some of the notable educational institutes present in Tamil Nadu are Indian Institute of Technology Madras, College of Engineering, Guindy, Indian Institute of Management Tiruchirappalli, Indian Maritime University, National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University, Chennai, Madras Medical College, Loyola College, Chennai, Ethiraj College for Women, Stella Maris College, Chennai and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University.

Tamil Nadu now has 69 per cent reservation in educational institutions for socially backward section of the society, the highest among all Indian states.[97] The Midday Meal Scheme programme in Tamil Nadu was first initiated by Kamaraj, then it was expanded by M G Ramachandran in 1983.

Culture

Tamil Nadu has a long tradition of venerable culture.[98] Tamil Nadu is known for its rich tradition of literature, art, music and dance which continue to flourish today. Tamil Nadu is a land most known for its monumental ancient Hindu temples and classical form of dance Bharata Natyam.[99] Unique cultural features like Bharatanatyam[100] (dance), Tanjore painting,[101] and Tamil architecture were developed and continue to be practised in Tamil Nadu.

Literature

Tamil written literature has existed for over 2000 years. The earliest period of Tamil literature, Sangam literature, is dated from ca. 300 BC – AD 300. It is the oldest Indian literature amongst all others. The earliest epigraphic records found on rock edicts and hero stones date from around the 3rd century BC.

Most early Tamil literary works are in verse form, with prose not becoming more common until later periods. The Sangam literature collection contains 2381 poems composed by 473 poets, some 102 of whom remain anonymous.[109] Sangam literature is primarily secular, dealing with everyday themes in a Tamilakam context.[110] The Sangam literature also deals with human relationship and emotions.[111] The available literature from this period was categorised and compiled in the 10th century into two categories based roughly on chronology. The categories are: Pathinenmaelkanakku (The Major Eighteen Anthology Series) comprising E??uttokai (The Eight Anthologies) and the Pattupattu (Ten Idylls) and Pathinenkilkanakku (The Minor Eighteen Anthology Series).

Much of Tamil grammar is extensively described in the oldest known grammar book for Tamil, the Tolkappiyam. Modern Tamil writing is largely based on the 13th century grammar Na??ul which restated and clarified the rules of the Tolkappiyam, with some modifications. Traditional Tamil grammar consists of five parts, namely e?uttu, sol, poru?, yappu, a?i. Of these, the last two are mostly applied in poetry.[112] Notable example of Tamil poetry include the Tirukkural written by Tiruvalluvar.

In 1578, the Portuguese published a Tamil book in old Tamil script named 'Thambiraan Vanakkam', thus making Tamil the first Indian language to be printed and published.[113] Tamil Lexicon, published by the University of Madras, is the first among the dictionaries published in any Indian language.[114] During the Indian freedom struggle, many Tamil poets and writers sought to provoke national spirit, social equity and secularist thoughts among the common man, notably Subramanya Bharathy and Bharathidasan.

Festivals and traditions

Pongal, also called as Tamizhar Thirunaal (festival of Tamils) or Makara Sankranti elsewhere in India, a four-day harvest festival is one of the most widely celebrated festivals throughout Tamil Nadu.[115] The Tamil language saying Thai Pirandhal Vazhi Pirakkum – literally meaning, the birth of the month of Thai will pave way for new opportunities – is often quoted with reference to this festival. The first day, Bhogi Pongal, is celebrated by throwing away and destroying old clothes and materials by setting them on fire to mark the end of the old and emergence of the new. The second day, Surya Pongal, is the main day which falls on the first day of the tenth Tamil month Thai (14 January or 15 January in western calendar). The third day, Maattu Pongal, is meant to offer thanks to the cattle, as they provide milk and are used to plough the lands.Jallikattu, a bull taming contest, marks the main event of this day. Alanganallur is famous for its Jallikattu[116][117] contest usually held on 3rd day of Pongal. During this final day, Kaanum Pongal – the word "kaanum", means 'to view' in Tamil. In 2011 the Madras High Court Bench ordered the cockfight at Santhapadi and Modakoor Melbegam villages permitted during the Pongal festival while disposing of a petition filed attempting to ban the cockfight.[118] The first month in the Tamil calendar is Chittirai and the first day of this month in mid-April is celebrated as Tamil New Year. The Thiruvalluvar calendar is 31 years ahead of the Gregorian calendar, i.e. Gregorian 2000 is Thiruvalluvar 2031. Aadi Perukku is celebrated on the 18th day of the Tamil month Aadi, which celebrates the rising of the water level in the river Kaveri. Apart from the major festivals, in every village and town of Tamil Nadu, the inhabitants celebrate festivals for the local gods once a year and the time varies from place to place. Most of these festivals are related to the goddess Maariyamman, the mother goddess of rain. Other major Hindu festivals including Deepavali (Death of Narakasura), Ayudha Poojai, Saraswathi Poojai (Dasara), Krishna Jayanthi and Vinayaka Chathurthi are also celebrated. Eid ul-Fitr, Bakrid, Milad un Nabi, Muharram are celebrated by Muslims whereas Christmas, Good Friday, Easter are celebrated by Christians in the state. Mahamagam a bathing festival at Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu is celebrated once in 12 years. People from all the corners of the country come to Kumbakonam for the festival. This festival is also called as Kumbamela of South.[119][120]

Music

M. S. Subbulakshmi, was the first musician to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour

The kings of ancient Thamizhagam created sangams for Iyal Isai Nadagam (Literature, Music and Drama). Music played a major role in sangams. Music in Tamil Nadu had different forms. In villages where farming was the primary occupation, women who worked in the fields used to sing kulavai songs. Odhuvars, Sthanikars or Kattalaiyars offer short musical programmes in the temples by singing the devotional Thevaram songs. In sharp contrast with the restrained and intellectual nature of Carnatic music, Tamil folk music tends to be much more exuberant. Popular forms of Tamil folk music include the Villuppa??u, a form of music performed with a bow,the urumee mellam or Naiyandi mellam which incorporates the use of the urumee and the Na??uppur_appa??u, ballads that convey folklore and folk history.

Carnatic music is the classical music form of southern India. This is one of the world's oldest & richest musical traditions. The Trinity of Carnatic music Tyagi, Muthuswami Dikshitar and Syama Sastri were from Tamil Nadu. TyagiAaradhanai (worship) takes place every year in the month of Marghazhi in Thiruvaiyaru all carnatic musicians render their obesiance to Saint Thyagarajar by singing his compositions. The composers belonging to the Tamil Trinity, namely Muthu Thandavar (?1560 – ?1640), Arunachala Kavi (1712–1779) and Marimutthu Pillai (1717–1787) composed hundreds of devotional songs in Tamil and helped in the evolution of Carnatic music. Chennai hosts a large cultural event, the annual Madras Music Season during December–January, which includes performances by hundreds of artists all over the city.

In terms of modern cine-music, Ilaiyaraaja was a prominent composer of film music in Tamil cinema during the late 1970s and 1980s. His work highlighted Tamil folk lyricism and introduced broader western musical sensibilities to the south Indian musical mainstream. Tamil Nadu is also the home of the double Oscar Winner A.R. Rahman[121][122][123] who has composed film music in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi films, English and Chinese films, was once referred to by Time magazine as "The Mozart of Madras". Now, Tamil Nadu is listening Rap music.

Arts and dance

Tamils have a large number of folk dances. These are performed for every possible occasion, to celebrate the arrival of seasons, birth of a child, weddings and festivals. Tamil dance is closely intertwined with the Tamil theatrical tradition.

The most celebrated of these dances is the karakattam. In its religious form, the dance is performed in front of an image of the goddess Mariamman. The dancer bears on his or her head a brass pot filled with uncooked rice, decorated with flowers and surrounded by a bamboo frame, and tumbles and leaps to the rhythm of a song without spilling a grain. Karakattam is usually performed to a special type of song known as temmanguppa??u a folk song in the mode of a lover speaking to his beloved, to the accompaniment of a nadaswaram and melam.

Other Tamil folk dances include mayila??am, where the dancers tie a string of peacock feathers around their waist; oyilattam, danced in a circle while waving small pieces of cloth of various colours; poikkal kuthiraiyaa??am, where the dancers use dummy horses; manattam, where the dancers imitate the graceful leaping of deer; paraiya??am, a dance to the sound of rhythmical drumbeats, and thippanda??am, a dance involving playing with burning wooden torches.

Bharatanatyam is a classical dance form originating from Tamil Nadu. Prior to the colonial period, it used to be performed in Hindu temples by Devadasis. In this form, it as also been called sadir or chinna melam. Many of the ancient sculptures in Hindu temples are based on Bharata Natyam dance postures. Bharatanatyam is a traditional dance-form known for its grace, purity, tenderness, and sculpturesque poses. It continues to be a popular dance style at present times and is practised by male and female dancers all over India. Terukkuttu or Kattaikkuttu is a traditional form of Tamil street theatre folk dance/drama.

Film industry

Tamil Nadu is also home to the Tamil film industry also known as "Kollywood", which released the most number of films in India in 2013.[124] The term Kollywood is a portmanteau of Kodambakkam and Hollywood.[125] Tamil cinema is one of the largest centres of film production in India.[126] In Tamil Nadu, cinema ticket prices are regulated by the government. Single screen theaters may charge a maximum of ?50, while theaters with more than three screens may charge a maximum of ?120 per ticket.[127] The first silent film in Tamil Keechaka Vadham, was made in 1916.[128] The first talkie was a multi-lingual, Kalidas, which released on 31 October 1931, barely 7 months after India's first talking picture Alam Ara[129] Swamikannu Vincent, who had built the first cinema of South India in Coimbatore, introduced the concept of "Tent Cinema" in which a tent was erected on a stretch of open land close to a town or village to screen the films. The first of its kind was established in Madras, called "Edison's Grand Cinemamegaphone". This was due to the fact that electric carbons were used for motion picture projectors.

Television industry

There are more than 30 television channels of various genre in Tamil. DD Podhigai, Doordarshan's Tamil language regional channel was launched on 14 April 1993.[131] The first private Tamil channel, Sun TV was founded in 1993 by Kalanidhi Maran. In Tamil Nadu, the television industry is influenced by politics and majority of the channels are owned by politicians or people with political links.[132] The government of Tamil Nadu distributed free televisions to families in 2006 at an estimated cost ?3.6 billion (US$53 million) of which has led to high penetration of TV services.[133][134] Cable used to be the preferred mode of reaching homes controlled by government run operator Arasu Cable.[135] From the early 2010s, Direct to Home has become increasingly popular replacing cable television services.[136] Tamil television serials form a major prime time source of entertainment and are directed usually by one director unlike American television series, where often several directors and writers work together.[137]

Cuisine

Tamil cuisine is typical of south Indian cuisine, in that rice and rice-derived dishes form the major portion of a diet (see rice and curry). There are regional sub-varieties namely Chettinadu, Kongunadu, Nanjilnadu, Madurai, Tirunelveli varieties etc. Traditionally, food is served on a banana leaf instead of a plate and eaten with the right hand. The world famous idly-dosai-sambar-vadai is a symbol and as well as an identity for the modern day Tamil cuisine.

Rice is the staple food of Tamils and is typically eaten mixed with sambhar (with or without ghee), vegetarian or non-vegetarian kulambu, rasam, curd and buttermilk. This is accompanied with various vegetarian and/or non-vegetarian dishes like kootu, aviyal, poriyal, thuvayal, chutni, karaisal, kothsu, avial, varuval, peratal, appalam, vadakam, vatral, varieties of pickles, uppukandam, urukaai and chicken, mutton, or fish fry.

Breakfast and snack items include idly, dosai, adai, vadai, pongal, aappam, paniyaram, puttu, uppuma, santhakai, idiyappam and uthappam. These items are eaten along with sambar, varieties of chatni or podi (spice powder). Traditionally prepared filter coffee is unique in taste and popular all over the state. The Chettinad region is famous for its spicy non-vegetarian cuisine, while Ambur and Dindigul are known for their Biriyani. Sweet items that are native to Tamil Nadu are athirasam, Chakkarai Pongal and Kuli Paniyaram. Salem is renowned for its unique mangoes, Madurai is the place of origin of milk dessert Jigarthanda while Palani is known for its Panchamirtham.

Economy

Tamil Nadu is the second largest contributor to India's GDP. For the year 2014–15 Tamil Nadu's GSDP was ?9,767 billion (US$150 billion), and growth was 14.86.[139] It ranks third in foreign direct investment (FDI) approvals (cumulative 1991–2002) of ? 225,826 million ($5,000 million), next only to Maharashtra and Delhi constituting 9.12 per cent of the total FDI in the country.[140] The per capita income in 2007–2008 for the state was ? 72,993 ranking third among states with a population over 10 million and has steadily been above the national average.

According to the 2011 Census, Tamil Nadu is the most urbanised state in India (49 per cent), accounting for 9.6 per cent of the urban population while only comprising 6 per cent of India's total population,[143] and is the most urbanised state in India.[7] Services contributes to 45 per cent of the economic activity in the state, followed by manufacturing at 34 per cent and agriculture at 21 per cent. Government is the major investor in the state with 51 per cent of total investments, followed by private Indian investors at 29.9 per cent and foreign private investors at 14.9 per cent. Tamil Nadu has a network of about 113 industrial parks and estates offering developed plots with supporting infrastructure. According to the publications of the Tamil Nadu government the Gross State Domestic Product at Constant Prices (Base year 2004–2005) for the year 2011–2012 is ? 428,109 crores, an increase of 9.39 per cent over the previous year. The per capita income at current price is ? 72,993.

Tamil Nadu has six Nationalised Home Banks which originated in this state; Two government-sector banks Indian Bank and Indian Overseas Bank in Chennai, and Four private-sector banks City Union Bank in Kumbakonam, Karur Vysya Bank, Lakshmi Vilas Bank in Karur, and Tamilnad Mercantile Bank Limited in Tuticorin.

Agriculture

Tamil Nadu has historically been an agricultural state and is a leading producer of agricultural products in India. In 2008, Tamil Nadu was India's fifth biggest producer of rice. The total cultivated area in the State was 5.60 million hectares in 2009–10.[144] The Cauvery delta region is known as the Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu.[145] In terms of production, Tamil Nadu accounts for 10 per cent in fruits and 6 per cent in vegetables, in India.[146] Annual food grains production in the year 2007–08 was 10035,000 mt.[144] Mango and banana are the leading fruit crops in Tamil Nadu accounting for over 87 per cent of the total fruit production. The main vegetables grown are tapioca, tomato, onion, brinjal (eggplant), and drumstick. Tamil Nadu is also a leading state in the production of flowers with the total production of horticultural crops standing at ? 9947,000 during 2003–04. The main flowers grown in Tamil Nadu are jasmine, chrysanthemum, marigold and rose.

The state is the largest producer of bananas, turmeric, flowers, tapioca, the second largest producer of mango,[146] natural rubber,[147] coconut, groundnut and the third largest producer of coffee, sapota, Tea and Sugarcane. Tamil Nadu's sugarcane yield per hectare is the highest in India. The state has 17,000 hectares of land under oil palm cultivation, the second highest in India.

Dr M.S. Swaminathan, known as the "father of the Indian Green Revolution" was from Tamil Nadu.[150] Tamil Nadu Agricultural University with its seven colleges and thirty two research stations spread over the entire state contributes to evolving new crop varieties and technologies and disseminating through various extension agencies. Among states in India, Tamil Nadu is one of the leaders in livestock, poultry and fisheries production. Tamil Nadu had the second largest number of poultry amongst all the states and accounted for 17.7 per cent of the total poultry population in India.[151] In 2003–2004, Tamil Nadu had produced 3783.6 million of eggs, which was the second highest in India representing 9.37 per cent of the total egg production in the country.[152] With the second longest coastline in India, Tamil Nadu represented 27.54 per cent of the total value of fish and fishery products exported by India in 2006.

Textiles and leather

Tamil Nadu is one of the leading States in the textile sector and it houses the country's largest spinning industry accounting for almost 80 per cent of the total installed capacity in India. When it comes to yarn production, the State contributes 40 per cent of the total production in the country. There are 2,614 Hand Processing Units (25 per cent of total units in the country) and 985 Power Processing Units (40 per cent of total units in the country) in Tamil Nadu. According to official data, the textile industry in Tamil Nadu accounts for 17 per cent of the total invested capital in all the industries.[153] Coimbatore is often referred to as the "Manchester of South India" due to its cotton production and textile industries.[154] Tirupur is the country's largest exporter of knitwear.[155][156][157] for its cotton production. The region around Coimbatore, Tirupur, Karur and Erode is referred to[by whom?] as the "Textile Valley of India" with the export from the Tirupur ? 50,000 million ($1,000 million) and Karur generates around ? 35,500 million ($750 million) a year in foreign exchange. Gobichettipalayam, Pollachi, Udumalpet, Theni and Vedasandur are known for its cotton spinning mills. Gobichettipalayam is a prominent producer of white silk with the country's first automated silk reeling unit present here. Kanchipuram and Arani are world famous for their pure silk sarees and hand loom silk weaving industries. Aruppukottai, Salem, and Sathyamangalam are also famous for art-silk sarees. Sankarankovil, Andipatti, Tiruchengodu, Paramakudi, Kurinjipadi, Chennimalai, Komarapalayam are major handloom centres. Sankarankovil, Negamam, Cinnalapatti, Woraiyur, Pochampalli are famous for its soft cotton saree weaving. Madurai is known for its Chungidi cotton sarees and Bhavani for its cotton carpets.

The state accounts for 70 per cent of leather tanning capacity in India and 38 per cent of leather footwear and components. The exports from Tamil Nadu are valued at about US$762 million, which accounts for 42 per cent of Indian leather exports. Hundreds of leather and tannery industries are located around Dindigul Erode and Vellore, its nearby towns such as Ranipet, Melvisharam, Pernambut, Ambur, Vaniyambadi and Perundurai.

Automobiles

Tamil Nadu has seen major investments in the automobile industry over many decades manufacturing cars, railway coaches, battle-tanks, tractors, motorcycles, automobile spare parts and accessories, tyres and heavy vehicles. Chennai is known as the Detroit of India.[158] Major global automobile companies including BMW, Ford, Robert Bosch, Renault-Nissan, Caterpillar, Hyundai, Mitsubishi Motors, and Michelin as well as Indian automobile majors like Mahindra & Mahindra, Ashok Leyland, Hindustan Motors, TVS Motors, Irizar-TVS, Royal Enfield, MRF, Apollo Tyres, TAFE Tractors, DaimlerChrysler AG Company also invested (?) 4 billion for establishing new plant in Tamil Nadu.[159] Karur is a hub for Bus body building industries. The giants like Ashok Leyland, TVS, LMW, MRF and ELGI are headquartered in Tamil Nadu. Hosur is also an important automobile manufacturing region where TVS Motors and Ashok Leyland have setup their Manufacturing plants

Heavy industries and engineering

Tamil Nadu is one of the highly industrialised states in India. Over 11% of the S&P CNX 500 conglomerates have corporate offices in Tamil Nadu. Many heavy engineering and manufacturing companies are located in and around the suburbs of Chennai. Bharat Heavy Electricals, one of India's largest electrical equipment manufacturing companies, has manufacturing plants at Tiruchirapalli and Ranipet. India's leading steel producer, the state-owned Steel Authority of India has a steel plant in Salem. Sterlite Industries has a copper smelter at Tuticorin and an aluminium plant in Mettur. The Chennai Petroleum Corporation is a state-owned oil and gas corporation headquartered in Chennai, and owns refineries at Manali and Panangudi. The state government owns the Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers,[160] in Karur. Jointly with the Tata Group, the state owns the world's sixth largest manufacturer of watches, under the brand name of Titan, at Hosur. A number of large cement manufacturers, including the Chettinad Group, Ramco Cements, Tancem, the Dalmia Group, UltraTech Cements and ACC are present across the state.

Coimbatore is also referred to as "the Pump City" as it supplies two-thirds of India's requirements of motors and pumps. The city is one of the largest exporters of wet grinders and auto components and the term "Coimbatore Wet Grinder" has been given a Geographical indication.

Electronics and software

Electronics manufacturing is a growing industry in Tamil Nadu, with many international companies like Nokia, Flextronics, Motorola, Sony-Ericsson, Foxconn, Samsung, Cisco, Moser Baer and Dell having chosen Chennai as their south Asian manufacturing hub. Products manufactured include circuit boards and cellular phone handsets.

Tamil Nadu is the second largest software exporter by value in India. Software exports from Tamil Nadu grew from ? 76 billion ($1.6 billion) in 2003–04 to ? 207 billion {$5 billion} by 2006–07 according to NASSCOM[163] and to ? 366 billion in 2008–09 which shows 29 per cent growth in software exports according to STPI. Major national and global IT Companies such as Syntel, Infosys, Wipro, HCL, Tata Consultancy Services, Verizon, Hewlett-Packard, Amazon.com, eBay, PayPal, IBM, Accenture, Ramco Systems, Computer Sciences Corporation, Cognizant Technology solutions, Tech Mahindra, Polaris, Aricent, MphasiS, Mindtree, Hexaware Technologies and many others have offices in Tamil Nadu. The top engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu have been a major recruiting hub for the IT firms. According to estimates, about 50 per cent of the HR required for the IT and ITES industry was being sourced from the State. Coimbatore is the second largest software producer in the state, next to Chennai, followed by Madurai

Others

Namakkal is also one of the major centers of egg production in India. Coimbatore is one of the major centers of jewellery and poultry.[166][167] Karur is a major center for Nylon nets (HDPE) filaments. Sivakasi is a major centre of fireworks and safety match production and offset printing in India with over 60 per cent of firework production in India. Kanyakumari is famous for rubber production. Armoured Vehicles and Ammunition Depot of India (AVADI) which manufactures armored vehicles for Indian military is located about 23 km northwest of Chennai. Integral Coach Factory in Perambur is the largest producer of railway coaches in Asia.

Tourism

The tourism industry of Tamil Nadu is the largest in India, with an annual growth rate of 16 per cent. Tourism in Tamil Nadu is promoted by Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC), a Government of Tamil Nadu undertaking.[195] According to Ministry of Tourism statistics, 4.66 million foreign and 327.6 million domestic tourists visited the state in 2014 making it the most visited state in India both domestic and foreign tourists.[196] The state boasts some of the grand Hindu temples built in Dravidian architecture. The Brihadishwara Temple in Thanjavur and Gangaikonda Cholapuram built by the Cholas, the Airavateswara temple in Darasuram and the Shore Temple, along with the collection of other monuments in Mahabalipuram (also called Mamallapuram) have been declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.[197][198]

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam, Tiruchirappalli is the largest functioning temple in the world, Rameshwaram whose temple walk-ways corridors are the longest 1.2 km (0.75 mi) of all Indian temples, Chidambaram, Thiruvannaamalai, Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple, Kanchipuram and Six Abodes of Murugan are amongst the important pilgrimage sites for Hindus. Other popular temples in Tamil Nadu include those in Tiruvarur, Kumbakonam, Tirunelveli, Sankarankovil, Srivilliputhur, Tiruttani, Namakkal, Vellore, Karur, Bhavani, Pariyur, Bannari, Chennai, Coimbatore and Kanniyakumari.

Tamil Nadu is also home to hill stations like Udhagamandalam (Ooty), Kodaikanal, Yercaud, Coonoor, Topslip, Valparai, Megamalai and Yelagiri. The Nilgiri hills, Palani hills, Shevaroy hills, Megamalai hills, Kolli Hills, Cumbum valley and Cardamom hills are all abodes of thick forests and wildlife. Tamil Nadu has many national parks, biosphere reserves, wildlife sanctuaries, elephant and bird sanctuaries, reserved forests, zoos and crocodile farms. Prominent among them are Mudumalai National Park, The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve, Anaimalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuary and Arignar Anna Zoological Park.[199] The mangrove forests at Pichavaram are also eco-tourism spots of importance. The prominent waterfalls in the state are Courtallam, Hogenakkal, Suruli, kumbakarai, kurangani, Papanasam, Manimuthar, Thirparappu, Pykara and Silver Cascade. The Chettinad region of the state is renowned for its palatial houses and cuisine. With cheap and quality tertiary medical care available in Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore and Vellore, Tamil Nadu has the largest numbers in medical tourism in India. Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of peninsular India, is famous for its beautiful sunrise, Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Thiruvalluvar's statue built off the coastline. Marina Beach in Chennai is one of the longest beaches in the world. The stretch of beaches from Chennai to Mahabalipuram are home to many resorts, theme parks and eateries.