The Tamil people are an ethnic group from South Asia. They have a written history of more than 2,000 years. Traditionally, they have been living in the southern parts of India, and the northeastern parts of Sri Lanka.
The Tamil people number around 74 million in the world. Of that, there are about 63,000,000 in India; about 3,600,000 live in Sri Lanka; about 1,500,000 live in Malaysia; and about 250,000 live in Singapore. The remaining Tamil people live in many other places. Other peoples are related to the Tamil people by language, culture, and ancestry. Some of them are Brahui people, Kannadigas, Malayalis, Telugu people, Tuluvas, and Gonds.
Tamil people identify themselves with their language, Tamil. In recent times, they have broadened the definition of Tamil people. They now also include descendants of Tamil speaking people even when they no longer speak Tamil language.
History[change | change source]
The history of Tamil people has three broad time periods as described below.
I have shot this ritual intensively and it is not just Tamil folks but even non Tamils who undergo this cheek piercing.. there is immense pain, sometimes the devotee goes into a trance or positive possession..I shot this event at Juhu Mahim and Sion Koliwada ..
I also shot a hijra who came every year to get his cheek pierced during this festival of Mother Marriammen .Because he took part in this event all the hijras from Sion Dharavi adjoining areas came to support him danced and made merry..This part of my hijra documentary has been completely disabled from public view .
I shot this event at Mahim beach and other Tamil pockets and I was introduced to this feast accidentally by Bhima Davendar of Nehru Nagar now my closest friend ..lots of celebrity wives come to the renovated Marriammen Temple here ,,in this slums in posh Juhu area.
Bhima introduced me to Lakshmi a Tamil from Salem her pujari brother Ganesh at Mahim Fishermens Colony and I shot this event for many years , demonic pos…
This was the next segment after the morning rituals and animal sacrifice at the Marriammen Temple Nehru Nagar Juhu ..
I came to Juhu beach at about 5 pm searching fr my friend Bhima Davendar , who helps insert the rods in the cheeks of the devotees .. but he was stuck up in the traffic so I shot Shekar of Nehru Nagar ,, pushing the 18 feet rods in the mouths and inserting hooks in the backs of the devotees ,, with the hooks they will pull cars , rickshahs or be hung from trains ,,
I was really not interested in shooting stills as I shot this event for over 10 years or more instead I shot videos on my mobile phone ,,
Later I shot Shanmukhnanda my friend from Madras Wadi Worli ,, he was also one of the guys helping the devotees insert the rods in their mouths and hooks in the back..
I left from here with Shanmukhnanda , I was walking back to the Marriammen Temple for the ritual of removing of the rods but I was barefeet tired dehydrated and my blood sugar was making me uneasy as I ha…