Sunday, July 12, 2009

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Tamil Nadu (Tamil: தமிழ்நாடு "Country of the Tamils", pronounced [t̪ɐmɨɻ n̪aːɽɯ]( listen)) is one of the 32 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 Puducherry (Pondicherry), Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. It is bound by the Eastern Ghats in the north, the Nilgiri, the Anamalai Hills, and Palakkad on the west

Tamil is the official language of Tamil Nadu which was the first language to be declared as classical language of India, the other being Sanskrit. Most of the older works are in verse form, and prose gained popularity later. All through history, Tamil literature has sought to inform and inspire, educate and entertain. Tamil poetry has universal appeal as evidenced by many examples.

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 is karakattam.

The Kings of the olden days created sangams for Iyal Isai Nadagam (Literature, Music and Drama). Music plays a major role in sangams. Music in Tamil Nadu had different forms. In villages where farming was the primary work, the ladies who work in the fields used to sing kulavai songs.

In terms of modern music (light, film, pop, etc.), the music of Tamil Nadu is praised very highly. Ilaiyaraaja was the most 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.

Bharatanatyam is a classical dance form originating from Tamil Nadu. Bharatanatyam is thought to have been created by Bharata Muni, a Hindu sage, who wrote the Natya Shastra, the most important ancient treatise on classical Indian dance. In ancient times it was performed in Hindu temples by Devadasis.

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The Malayali people are a group of people, who speak Malayalam, originating from the Indian state of Kerala. The Malayali identity is primarily linguistic, although in recent times the definition has been broadened to include emigrants of Malayali descent who partly maintain Malayali cultural traditions

While the majority of Malayalis belong to Kerala, significant populations also exist in other parts of India, the Middle East, Europe and North America & various parts of India. According to the Indian census of 1991, there were 28,096,376 speakers of Malayalam in Kerala, making up 96.6% of the total population of that state. Hence the word Keralite is often used in the same context, though a proper definition is ambiguous

Malayalis have a rich artistic and cultural tradition. These traditions give rise to art forms and festivals that are vibrant and colorful. Dance forms are intricate, gentle, and artistic.

Festivals often involve elaborate processions of elephants accompanied by the sounds of drums, cymbals, and firecrackers.The cultural traits of Malayalis are similar to those of the Tamils and other Dravidians as well.

Ottamthullal is a type of performing art from Kerala, India. Also known as the "poor man's Kathakali", Ottamthullal was created by the Malayali poet Kunchan Nambiar, as an alternative to the Chakyar koothu, as a protest against the prevalent socio-political structure and prejudices of the region. In Ottamthullal, a single actor wears colorful costumes, while reciting thullal (dance songs), all the while acting and dancing.

Malayalis have derived their own form of Indian classical music. It is given the name Sopanam. Sopanam is a form of Indian classical music developed in the temples of Kerala in the wake of the increasing popularity of the Jayadeva's 'Gita Govinda' or 'Ashtapathi'.