the Tamils are an ancient people
The Tamils are an ancient people. Their history had its beginnings in the
rich alluvial plains near the southern extremity of peninsular India which included the
land mass known as the island of Sri Lanka today. The island's plant and animal life
(including the presence of elephants) evidence the earlier land connection with the Indian
sub continent. So too do satellite photographs which show the submerged 'land bridge'
between Dhanuskodi on the south east of the Indian sub-continent and Mannar in the north
west of the island.
Some researchers have concluded that it was during the period 6000 B.C. to 3000 B.C.
that the island separated from the Indian sub continent and the narrow strip of shallow
water known today as the Palk Straits came into existence. Many Tamils trace their origins to the people of Mohenjodaro in the Indus Valley around 6000 years before the
birth of Christ. There is, however, a need for
further systematic study of the history of the early Tamils and proto Tamils.
"Dravidians, whose descendents still live in Southern India, established the first
city communities, in the Indus valley, introduced irrigation schemes, developed pottery
and evolved a well ordered system of government." (Reader's Digest Great World
Clyde Ahmad Winters, who has written extensively on Dravidian origins commented:
"Archaeological and linguistic evidence indicates that the Dravidians were the
founders of the Harappan culture which extended from the Indus Valley through northeastern
Afghanistan, on into Turkestan. The Harappan civilization existed from 2600-1700 BC. The
Harappan civilization was twice the size the Old Kingdom of Egypt. In addition to trade
relations with Mesopotamia and Iran, the Harappan city states also had active trade
relations with the Central Asian peoples."
He has also explored the question whether the Dravidians were of African origin. (Winters, Clyde
Ahmad, "Are Dravidians of African Origin", P.Second ISAS,1980 - Hong Kong:Asian
Research Service, 1981 - pages 789- 807)
Other useful web pages on the Indus civilisation (suggested by Dr.Jude Sooriyajeevan
of the National Research Council, Canada) include the Indus Dictionary.
At the same time, the Aryan/Dravidian divide in India and the 'Aryan Invasion Theory' itself has come under attack by
some modern day historians. (see also Sarasvati-Sindhu
civilisation; 'Hinduism: Native or Alien to
Professor Klaus Klostermaier in 'Questioning the Aryan Invasion Theory and Revising Ancient Indian History' commented:
a tradition of learning and scholarship much older and vaster than
the European countries that, from the sixteenth century onwards,
became its political masters. Indian scholars are rewriting the
history of India today.One of the major points of revision concerns the
so called 'Aryan invasion theory', often referred to as 'colonial-missionary', implying that it was the brainchild of
conquerors of foreign colonies who could not but imagine that all
higher culture had to come from outside 'backward' India, and who
likewise assumed that a religion could only spread through a
politically supported missionary effort.
While not buying into the more
sinister version of this revision, which accuses the inventors of
the Aryan invasion theory of malice and cynicism, there is no doubt
that early European attempts to explain the presence of Indians in
India had much to with the commonly held Biblical belief that
humankind originated from one pair of humans- Adam and Eve to be precise ..."
Hinduism Today concluded in Rewriting Indian History -
"Although lacking supporting scientific evidence, this (Aryan Invasion) theory,
and the alleged Aryan-Dravidian racial split, was accepted and promulgated as fact for
three main reasons. It provided a convenient precedent for Christian British subjugation
of India. It reconciled ancient Indian civilisation and religious scripture with the 4000
bce Biblical date of Creation. It created division and conflict between the peoples of
India, making them vulnerable to conversion by Christian missionaries."
"Scholars today of both East and West believe the Rig Veda people who called
themselves Aryan were indigenous to India, and there never was an Aryan invasion. The
languages of India have been shown to share common ancestry in ancient Sanskrit and Tamil.
Even these two apparently unrelated languages, according to current
"super-family" research, have a common origin: an ancient language dubbed
Tamils were a sea faring people
Robert Caldwell wrote in 1875:
"... From the evidence of words in use amongst the early Tamils, we learn the
following items of information. They had 'kings' who dwelt in 'strong houses' and ruled
over 'small districts of country'. They had 'minstrels', who recited 'songs' at
'festivals', and they seem to have had alphabetical 'characters' written with a style on
palmyra leaves. A bundle of those leaves was called 'a book'; they acknowledged the
existence of God, whom they styled as ko, or King.... They erected to his honour a
'temple', which they called Ko-il, God's-house.
They had 'laws' and 'customs'... Marriage existed among them. They were acquainted with
the ordinary metals... They had 'medicines', 'hamlets' and 'towns', 'canoes', 'boats' and
even 'ships' (small 'decked' coasting vessels), no acquaintance with any people beyond the
sea, except in Ceylon, which was then, perhaps, accessible on foot at low water.. They
were well acquainted with agriculture.... All the ordinary or necessary arts of life,
including 'spinning', 'weaving' and 'dyeing' existed amongst them. They excelled in
pottery..." (Robert Caldwell:
Grammar of Dravidian or South Indian Family of Languages - Second
Edition 1875 - Reprinted by the University of Madras, 1961)
The Tamils were a sea faring people. They traded with
Rome in the days of Emperor Augustus. They sent ships to many lands bordering the Indian
Ocean and with the ships went traders, scholars, and a way of life. Tamil inscriptions in
Indonesia go back some two thousand years. The oldest Sanskrit inscriptions belonging to
the third century in Indo China bear testimony to Tamil influence and until recent times
Tamil texts were used by priests in Thailand and Cambodia. The scattered elements of
ruined temples of the time of Marco Polo's visit to China in the 13th century give
evidence of purely Tamil structure and include Tamil inscriptions.
"Tamil Nadu, the home land of the Tamils, occupies the southern most region of
India. Traditionally, Thiruvenkatam - the abode of Sri Venkatewara and a range of hills of
the Eastern Ghats - formed the northern boundary of the country and the Arabian sea line
the western boundary. However as a result of infiltrations, made by peoples from other
territories, Tamil lost its ground in the west as well as in the north. In medieval
times, the country west of the mountains, became Kerala and that in the north turned part
of Andhra Desa. Bounded by the states of Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Desa, the Tamil Nadu
of the present day extends from Kanyakumari in the south to Tiruttani in the North....
In early times the
Cheras and the
their pioneering sway over the country and extended their authority beyond the traditional
frontiers. As a result the Tamil Country served as the homeland of extensive empires. It
was during this period that the Tamil bards composed the masterpieces in Tamil
"In the first decade of the 14th century the rising tide of Afghan imperialism
swept over South India. The Tughlugs created a new province in the Tamil Country called
Mabar, with its capital at Madurai which in 1335 asserted independence as the Sultanate of
Madurai. After a short period of stormy existence, it gave way to the Vijayanagar
Empire... Since then, the Telegus, the Brahminis, the Marathas and the Kannadins wrested
possession of the territory. Between 1798 and 1801, the country passed under the direct
administration of the English East India Company." (History of Tamil Nadu 1565 -
1982: Professor K.Rajayyan, Head of the School of Historical Studies,
M.K.University, Madurai - Raj Publishers, Madurai, 1982)
The East India Company website
contains interesting information about the efforts of the early English rulers.
Today an estimated 70 million Tamils live in many lands -
more than 50 million Tamils live in Tamil Nadu in South India and around 3 million reside
in the island of Sri Lanka.
British conquest & Tamil
The response of a people to invasion by aliens from a
foreign land is a measure of the depth of their roots and the strength of their identity.
It was under British conquest that the Tamil renaissance of the second half of the 19th
century gathered momentum.
It was a renaissance which had its cultural beginnings in the discovery and the
subsequent editing and printing of the Tamil classics of the Sangam period. These had
existed earlier only as palm leaf manuscripts. Arumuga Navalar in Jaffna, in the island of
Sri Lanka, published the Thirukural in 1860 and Thirukovaiyar in 1861. Thamotherampillai,
who was born in Jaffna but who served in Madras, published the grammatical treatise
Tolkapiyam by collating material from several original ola leaf manuscripts.
It was on the foundations laid by Arumuga Navalar and Thamotherampillai that Swaminatha Aiyar, who was born in Tanjore, in South
India, put together the classics of Tamil literature of the Sangam period. Swaminatha
Aiyar spent a lifetime researching and collecting many of the palm leaf manuscripts of the
classical period and it is to him that we owe the publication of Cilapathikaram, Manimekali,
Civakachintamani and many other treatises which are a part of the rich
literary heritage of the Tamil people.
Another Tamil from Jaffna, Kanagasabaipillai served at Madras University and his book
'Tamils - Eighteen Hundred Years Ago' reinforced the historical togetherness of the Tamil
people and was a valuable source book for researchers in Tamil studies in the succeeding
years. It was a Tamil cultural renaissance in which the contributions of the scholars of
Jaffna and those of South India are difficult to separate.
Again, not surprisingly, it was a renaissance which was also linked with a revived
interest in Saivaism and a growing recognition that Saivaism was the original religion of
the Tamil people. Arumuga Navalar established schools in Jaffna, in Sri Lanka and in
Chidambaram, in South India and his work led to the formation of the Saiva Paripalana
Sabai in Jaffna in 1888, the publication of the Jaffna Hindu Organ in 1889 and the
founding of the Jaffna Hindu College in 1890.
In South India, J.M.Nallaswami Pillai, who was born in Trichinopoly, published
Meykandar's Sivajnana Bodham in English in 1895 and in 1897, he started a monthly called
Siddhanta Deepika which was regarded by many as reflecting the 19th century ' renaissance
of Saivaism'. A Tamil version of the journal was edited by Maraimalai Atikal whose
writings gave a new sense of cohesion to the Tamil people - a cohesion which was derived
from the rediscovery of their ancient literature and the rediscovery of their ancient
Periyar E.V. Ramasamy & Tamil nationalism
The cultural renaissance of the 19th century led to an increasing Tamil togetherness
and was linked with the thrust for social reform and political power - a thrust which at
the same time, sought to marry a rising Tamil togetherness with the immediate and larger
struggle for freedom from British rule.
In South India, no one exemplified the marriage of this duality more effectively than Subramania Bharathy whose songs in Tamil stirred the
hearts of millions of Tamils, both as Tamils and as Indians. The words of Bharathy's
Senthamil Nadu Enum Pothinale, continue to move the hearts of the Tamil people today. It
was his salute to the Tamil nation that was yet unborn. His Viduthalai was the joyous song
of Indian freedom and there he reached out beyond the Tamil nation to the day when Bharat
would be free.
Bharathy sought to consolidate the togetherness of his own people by his ceaseless
campaign against casteism and for women's rights. The Bharathy birth centenary
celebrations of 1982 served to underline the permanent place that Bharathy will always
have in the hearts of the Tamil people, whether they be from Tamil Nadu, Tamil Eelam,
Malaysia, Singapore or elsewhere.
Two other Tamils will be always associated with the rise of Tamil national
consciousness in the first two decades of the 20th century - lawyer, Tamil scholar and
revolutionary, V.V.S.Aiyar and the Swadeshi steam ship hero,
Kappal Otiya Thamilan,
Aiyar was a lawyer who joined Grays Inn in London to become a
barrister but became a revolutionary instead. Later, he wrote many books in Tamil and in
English and is regarded by many as the father of the modern Tamil short story. He was a
pioneer in Tamil literary criticism. His major works included a translation of the
Thirukural and 'Kamba Ramayanam - A Study'.
In the years after the first World War, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi reached out to the
underlying unity of India and sought to weld together the many peoples of the Indian
subcontinent into a larger whole. But the attempt did not entirely succeed. The assessment
of Pramatha Chauduri who wrote in Bengali in 1920 was not without significance:
"...You have accused me of 'Bengali patriotism'. I feel bound to reply. If its a
crime for a Bengali to harbour and encourage Bengali patriotism in his mind, then I am
guilty "But I ask you, what other patriotism do you expect from a Bengali writer? The
fact that I do not write in English should indicate that non Bengali patriotism does not
sway my mind. If I had to make patriotic speeches in a language that is the language of no
part of India, then I would have had to justify that patriotism by saying it does not
relate to any special part of India as a whole. In a language learnt by rote you can only
express ideas learnt by heart.
"It is not a bad thing to try and weld many in to one but to jumble them all up is
dangerous because the only way we can do that is by force. If you say that this does not
apply to India the reply is that if self determination is not suited to us, then it is not
suited at all to Europe. No people in Europe are as different, one from another, as our
people. There is not that much difference between England and Holland as there is between
Madras and Bengal. Even France and Germany are not that far apart...If you ask why this
simple truth is not evident to all the answer is: because of circumstances. The whole of
India is now under British rule...therefore, the main link between us is the link of
bondage and no province can cut through this subjugation by its own efforts and
actions...So today we are obliged to tell the people of India, 'Unite and Organise'...
"People will recognise the value of provincial patriotism the moment they attain
independence...Then the various nations of India will not try to merge, they will try to
establish a unity amongst themselves... To be united due to outside pressure and to unite
through mutual regard are not the same. Just as there is a difference between the getting
together of five convicts in a jail and between five free men... Indian patriotism
then will be built on the foundation of provincial patriotism, not just in words but in
Bengali Patriotism - Sabuj Patra 1920, translated and reprinted in Facets, September 1982)
In Madras Presidency, which was the largest province
of British India, and which included parts of that which is Andhra, Karnataka and Kerala
today, the Suya Mariyathai Iyakam (Self Respect
E.V.Ramasamy (Periyar) started initially, in the early 1920s, as a social reform
movement aimed at a casteless society. It later developed into a vehicle for a rising
"The Tamil Renaissance took place at the same time as the Nationalist Movement.
The outcome of this interaction of the renaissance and the Nationalist Movement was the
genesis of a consciousness of a separate identity resulting in Dravidian Nationalism....
In philology the term 'Dravidian' was used to denote a group a group of languages mainly
spoken in South India, namely, Tamil Telegu, Kannada and Malayalam. Later when the term
was extended to denote a race, again it denoted the peoples speaking these four languages.
But in South Indian politics as well as in general usage since the beginning of this
century the term 'Dravidian' came to denote the 'Tamils' only and not the other three
language speaking peoples. ... Hence it may be observed that the terms 'Tamil Nationalism'
and 'Dravidian Nationalism' were synonymous" (K.Nambi
Arooran - Tamil Renaissance and Dravidian Nationalism, Koodal Publishers, Madurai, 1980)
The establishment of Annamalai University in Chidambaram and later the Tamil Isai
Sangam in Madras were manifestations of a rising Tamil self consciousness. The students at
Annamalai University were to become influential political leaders of the Tamil people in
the years to come.
As early as 1926, Sankaran Nair, a nominated member of the Council of State in
Delhi, pleaded for self government to the ten Tamil districts of the Madras Presidency,
with its own army, navy and airforce.
Scholar politician V. Kaliyanasundarar writing in 1929 urged that Tamil Nadu
constituted a nation within the Indian state. He declared that the correct English
translation of the word Nadu was nation and not land and pointed out that the early Tamils
had their own government, language, culture and historical traditions. (V.Kaliyanasundarar,
Tamil Cholai, Volume 1, Madras 1954)
In 1937, Periyar E.V. Ramasamy took over the leadership of the South Indian Liberal
Federation, commonly called the Justice Party. At the
Justice Party confederation held in Madras in 1938, Periyar Ramasamy put forward his
demand for Dravidanad. This was two years before Mohamed Ali Jinnah set out the formal
demand for Pakistan at the Lahore conference. In 1944, the Justice party changed its name
to Dravida Kalagam and
C.N.Annadurai functioned as its first General Secretary.
These early manifestations of a Tamil national consciousness influenced Tamils outside
India as well. Periyar visited Malaysia in 1929, and
his visit led to a proliferation of Tamil associations, dedicated to religious and social
reform - associations which were often led by journalists and teachers. The writings of
Annadurai and other leaders of the Dravida Kalagam were avidly read by ordinary Tamils and
marked a watershed in the literary heritage of the Tamil people .
But, in the end,
Periyar E.V.Ramasamy, the undoubted father of the Dravidian movement failed to deliver
on the promise of Dravida Nadu. E.V.R. failed where
Mohamed Ali Jinnah succeeded. It is
true that the strategic considerations of the ruling colonial power were different in each
case - and this had something to do with Jinnahs success. But, nevertheless, if
ideology is concerned with moving a people to action, the question may well be asked: why
did E.V.Rs ideology fail to deliver Dravida Nadu?
Two aspects may be usefully considered. One was the attempt of the
Dravida movement to encompass Tamils, Malayalees, Kannadigas and all Dravidians and
mobilise them behind the demand for Dravida Nadu. Unsurprisingly, the attempt to mobilise
across what were in fact separate national formations failed to take off.
It was one thing to found a movement which rejected casteism. It was
quite another thing, to mobilise peoples, speaking different languages with different
historical memories, into an integrated political force in support of the demand for
At the same time, the Aryan/Dravidian divide propagated by German
scholars such as Max Weber, encouraged by the British, and espoused by E.V.R. paid
insufficient attention to the underlying unity of India and the enduring links that the
Tamil people had with the other peoples of the Indian sub continent.
That was not all. E.V.R extended his attack on casteism to an attack on
Hinduism - and indeed to all religions as well. Periyar E.V.R threw out the Hindu child
with the Brahmin bath water.
E.V.R was right to extol the
virtues of pahuth arivu, common sense. He was right to attack mooda nambikai, foolish
faith. His rationalism was often a refreshing response to religious dogma and
superstition. His attack on casteism, his social reform movement and his Self Respect
Movement in the 1920s infused a new dignity, thanmaanam, amongst the Tamil people and laid
the foundations on which Tamil nationalism has grown.
The Iyer Heritage Site serves to show
that even today, the self perception of at least some Brahmins is that they are
It was the pioneering work of EVR that led to the growth of the Dravida Munetra Kalagam (DMK) led by C.N.Annadurai and later by M.Karunanidhi, to the All India Dravida Munetra Kalagam led by
M.G.Ramachandran and the Marumalarchi
Dravida Munetra Kalagam (MDMK) led by V.Gopalasamy.
But, having said that, the refusal of EVR to recognise that casteism
was one thing, Hinduism another and spiritualism, perhaps, yet another, proved fatal. His
belligerent atheism failed to move the Tamil people. In the result even within Tamil Nadu,
EVR's Dravida Kalagam became marginalised, and the DMK which was an offshoot of the
Dravida Kalagam and the ADMK which was an offshoot of the DMK, both found it necessary to
play down the anti religious line and adopt instead a secular face. One
consequence of EVRs atheism was that spirituality in Tamil Nadu came to be exploited
as the special preserve of those who were opposed to the growth of Tamil nationalism.
Furthermore, the anti-Brahmin movement tended to ignore the
many caste differences that existed among the non-Brahmin Tamils and failed to address the
oppression practised by one non-Brahmin caste on another non-Brahmin caste. It is a
failure that continues to haunt the Tamil national movement even today. Caste divides and
fragments the togetherness of the Tamil people.
Support for the positive contributions that E.V.R. made in the area of
social reform and to rational thought, should not prevent an examination of where it was
that he went wrong. Again, it may well be that E.V.R. represented a necessary phase in the
struggle of the Tamil people and given the objective conditions of the 1920s and 1930s,
E.V.R was right to focus sharply on the immediate contradiction posed by 'upper' caste
dominance and mooda nambikai. But in the 21st century, there may be a need to learn from
E.V.R. - and not simply repeat that which he said or did.
Growth of Tamil national
consciousness in Sri Lanka
In the island of Sri Lanka, the separate national identity of the Tamil people grew
through a process of opposition to and differentiation from the Buddhist Sinhala people.
The Sinhala people trace their origins in the island to the
arrival of Prince Vijaya from India, around 500 B.C. and the Mahavamsa, the Sinhala
chronicle of a later period (6th Century A.D.) records that Prince Vijaya arrived on the
island on the same day that the Buddha attained Enlightenment in India. However, the words
of the Sinhala historian and Cambridge scholar, Paul Peiris represent an influential and
common sense point of view:
"..it stands to reason that a country which was only thirty miles from India and which
would have been seen by Indian fisherman every morning as they sailed out to catch their
fish, would have been occupied as soon as the continent was peopled by men who understood
how to sail... Long before the arrival of Prince Vijaya, there were in Sri Lanka five
recognised isvarams of Siva which claimed and received the adoration of all India. These
were Tiruketeeswaram near Mahatitha; Munneswaram dominating Salawatte and the pearl
fishery; Tondeswaram near Mantota; Tirkoneswaram near the great bay of Kottiyar and
Nakuleswaram near Kankesanturai. " (Paul E. Pieris: Nagadipa and Buddhist Remains in
Jaffna : Journal of Royal Asiatic Society, Ceylon Branch Vol.28)
The Pancha Ishwarams of Eelam
were important landmarks of the country and S.J.Gunasegaram's 'Trincomalee - Holy Hill of Siva '
reveals the antiquity of Trincomalee as an ancient Hindu shrine.
The Tamil people and the Sinhala people were brought within the confines of a single
state by the British. The struggle for freedom from British colonial rule, did lead Tamil
leaders such as Ponnambalam Ramanathan and Ponnambalam Arunachalam to work together with
their Sinhala counterparts in the Ceylon National Congress. But it was largely a dialogue
between the English speaking Tamil middle class and its English speaking Sinhala
Professor Kailasapathy in a paper presented at a
Social Scientists Association Seminar in Colombo, traced the growth of
Tamil consciousness in Eelam from the time of British rule, through independence and upto
1979. The paper affords many insights into the continuing growth of Tamil Consciousness
today, not only in Eelam but in the Tamil diaspora as well:
"Both the reformers and the revivalists came from the Hindu upper castes, but
while the former were not only English educated but also used that language for their
livelihood and for acquiring social status, the latter were primarily traditional in their
education and used their mother tongue for their livelihood and social communication..
.most of them wrote in English... In doing so they probably had a particular audience in
mind, an audience to whom they wanted to prove the antiquity and greatness of their
tradition...In contrast the revivalists were mainly highly erudite in their mother tongue
and wrote in it..."
The Pan Sinhala Executive Committee of the Ceylon State Council in 1936 and the
formation of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress led by G.G.Ponnambalam were some of the
early manifestations of the growth of a separate Sinhala nationalism and a separate Tamil
nationalism in the political arena of the island of Ceylon (as it then was known).
It was a Tamil nationalism which eventually found expression in the formation of the
Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi led by S.J.V.Chelvanayakam
in 1949 and later in the 1970s in the Tamil armed resistance movement, led today by the
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and Velupillai Pirabaharan.
The 'thiyagam' of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil
Eelam, gave poignant expression to the cultural values of the Tamil people, rooted in the
Purananuru and Cilapathikaram. At the same
time, the armed resistance movement in Tamil Eelam, also brought about a fundamental
cultural transformation in Tamil society. It helped to break down casteism among the Tamil
people. It helped to liberate Tamil women from the structures of oppression that had
been deeply embedded in sections of Tamil society - and help create the Puthumai Penn that Bharathy had sung about.
"The historical storm of the liberation struggle is uprooting age old traditions
that took root over a long period of time in our society... The ideology of women
liberation is a child born out of the womb of our liberation struggle... Our women are
seeking liberation from the structures of oppression deeply embedded in our society. This
oppressive cultural system and practices have emanated from age old ideologies and
superstitions. Tamil women are subjected to intolerable suffering as a consequence of male
chauvinistic oppression, violence and from the social evils of casteism and dowry."
(Velupillai Pirabaharan, 1992, 1993)
That the armed resistance movement of the Tamil people should have originated in Tamil
Eelam and not in Tamil Nadu is not altogether surprising. It is the nature of the discrimination and oppression which often
determines the nature of the response.
"Liberty is the life breath of a nation; and when life is attacked, when it is
sought to suppress all chance of breathing by violent pressure, then any and every means
of self preservation becomes right and justifiable...It is the nature of the pressure
which determines the nature of the resistance." (Aurobindo
in Bande Mataram, 1907)
Suffering unites a people and the suffering of the Tamil people in the island of Sri
Lanka, in their struggle for freedom and justice, has also served to bring together Tamils
living not only in Tamil Eelam and Tamil Nadu but also those living
in many other lands. At the same time, in Tamil Nadu poverty and corruption have
weakened confidence in existing political structures.
"As programmes and reforms failed... repression appeared as the direct
method of dealing with peasant unrest. Between 1975 and 1982, the police
forces launched a series of operations against the Naxals. Either in what was called encounters or under police
custody nineteen young men died and about 250 people were jailed. The green turbanned
peasants led by Narayanaswamy Naidu launched agitations in 1972 and 1980. In Coimbatore,
Dharmapuri, South Arcot and Madurai there were serious disturbances.. Between 1972 and
1982 fifty four peasants were killed in police firings and more than 25,000 were taken
into custody." (History of Tamil Nadu 1565 - 1982: Professor K.Rajayyan,
Head of the School of Historical Studies, M.K.University, Madurai - Raj Publishers,
Indian Union & the Tamil nation
The Tamil cultural renaissance of the second half of the 19th century, the rise of
the Dravida Tamil national movement of the first half of the 20th century, and the armed
struggle for Tamil Eelam are but tributories flowing into one river - the river of the
growing togetherness of the Tamil people - and it is unlikely that this is a river that
will flow backwards.
Here, not many will question that the future of the Tamil people lies with the peoples
of India. In 1973, Kamil Zvebil, Professor in Tamil Studies at Charles University, Prague
wrote in 'The Poets and the Powers', of the Tamil contribution in shaping and moulding the
great Indian synthesis :
"...Many and variegated are the contributions of the Tamils of South India to the
treasures of human civilisation, the
classical love and war poetry, the architecture of the Pallavas, the deservedly famous
South Indian bronzes of the Chola period, the
well known Bharata Natyam dance, the philosophy of Saiva Siddhanta, the
magnificent temples of the South - for more than two
thousand years have the Tamils been contributing to Indian
and taking part in shaping and moulding the great Indian synthesis."
Sylvain Levi George Coedes and La Valee Poissin wrote in the 'The Indianisation of
South East Asia' in 1975:
"Without being aware of it, India determined the history of a good portion of
mankind. She gave three quarters of Asia a God, a religion, a doctrine, a art. She gave
them her sacred language, literature and her institutions... All the regions contributed
to this expansion and civilisation, but it was the South that played the greatest
The Indian union in an emerging post modern world, will be
a free and equal association of states, that will be rooted
in the heritage that the Tamil people, (whether they be from Tamil Nadu or Tamil Eelam or
elsewhere) share with their brothers and sisters of India - a shared heritage that the
Tamil people freely acknowledge. It is a shared heritage to which the Tamil people have
contributed and will continue to contribute - and from which the Tamil people also derive