Tamil language is amongst the oldest living languages of the world with its extra-ordinary volume of literature and grammar. It has been the means through which people have vividly expressed their understanding, aspirations and ideals. Its oldest work Tolkaappiyam dates back to about 200 years BC. Some of the greatest works of ancient Tamil are of the Sangam period. The poets of the Sangam age belonged to all categories of occupations ranging from potters and peasants of a village to the merchants and the noble class. Among them were also women poets. This is a sign of equality in Tamil society. In fact, the message of peace, universality and of the human race being one was propounded more than 2000 years ago by a Sangam poet in the famous lines:
Thirukural written by Thiruvalluvar is a remarkable treatise on ethics. Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, at one point of time is known to have said, "I wanted to learn Tamil to enable me to study Valluvar's Thirukural in his mother tongue itself. It is a treasure of wisdom."
In the library of Tamil literature, Cilappatikaram and Manimekalai are works of excellence as are the landmark epics of Sivakachintamani and the Kambaramayanam and the soul-stirring hymns of Nayanars and Alvars. Tamil literary personalities made signal contributions to our national independence movement. The poems and songs of Subramania Bharathi evoked, in the minds of the people of India, deep feelings of patriotism during our freedom struggle