| I. TAMIL NADU
South India, a vast triangle of land, widely opened to the outside,
long remained protected from Northern influence. This region, more
ancient and less visited than the North is deeply marked by a millenary
Dravidian culture. South India is chiefly composed of three states:
Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Tamil Nadu is the biggest of South Indian states. Its scenery is
varied: from the coastal plains of the East to the high plateau
of the West. The eastern coast ports welcomed strangers from before
the Christian era thanks to commerce with Rome, Greece, China, Indonesia
and Indochina. All the Tamil sovereigns encouraged maritime trade
and the riches thus acquired financed the construction of many beautiful
a temple. Tamil Nadu has always been strongly attached to its values
and its language. Today Tamil Nadu, though largely agricultural,
is the most industrialised state in South India.
058 km square
55 800 000 inhabit.
Tamil (official language), English
rates: 62.66% (Men: 63.78%, Women: 44.6%)
The Tamil, like the inhabitants of other southern states, speak
a language said Dravidian: Tamil. Tamil is the national language
of Tamil Nadu. This language does not belong to the Indo-European
groups and was very little contaminated by Sanskrit. It is the most
ancient language alive today. Tamil poetry was at first dedicated
to the themes of love and war. From the 6th century it spoke of
religious epics and southern India played an important part in the
elaboration of Hinduism.
88% of the population is Hindu, the rest is Christian, Muslim
the cast system is very strong in Tamil Nadu and traditional distinctions
are more pronounced than in the rest of India. The Brahmin community
is very fervent here and they wear a distinctive white mark on their
climate is mostly tropical (April and May being the hottest months
with a 40 degrees Celsius average)
5.7 million inhabitants, capital of Tamil Nadu, 4th city of India
580 000 inhabitants lays 150kms South of Madras. This city was the
first French counter in India.
: 1.2 million inhabitant is situated at the southern end. This
city was founded around 500 AD It is one of the oldest cities in
India and a renowned place of pilgrimage. Madurai is very representative
of the Dravidian culture since it was the seat of the legendary
Tamil literary academies, the Sangams. From morning till night,
the city bustles with activity.
Agriculture : principle sector of activities.
70% of the population works in the
Food cultures : mainly rice, corn
Transformation cultures : cotton,
sugar cane, coffee, tea, oleaginous grains, peppers
Textile industry (cotton manufacturing),
chemical plants (compost), paper factories, printing, diesel motor
fabrication, sugar industry, cement, tin
Hydraulic energy plants
Nuclear energy complex
Leather and leather goods
Tea, coffee, spices, tobacco
Roads 4113 km
Railroad tracks that link Madurai,
Maritime transport by cargo
International airport in Madras
: the Baratanatyam of Tamil origin, the most famous and the
most respected of Indian traditional dances.
II. THE SITUATION OF RURAL DALITS IN TAMIL
The DACA is situated in the suburbs of Madurai in the State of
Tamil Nadu at the extreme South
of India. Its activities are concentrated in the area around Madurai,
Theni, Tirunelveli, Dindigul, Ramanathapuram and Tuticorin aiming
at the Rural Dalit population since it is they who are the most
subject to discrimination and social and economic injustices..
A few numbers :
There are 11 million Dalits
in Tamil Nadu,
Which represents 20% of the
50% of the Dalits live below
the poverty rate
Activities and Ownership :
These activities are season activities which encourages debts
towards land-owners that run across the generations as well
as child labour. As far as child labour is concerned, the
region of Madurai ( where DACA is based) is famous for its
match industry and fire-works industry that employ children
for their agility (from the age of 8).
Infant mortality :
Infant mortality in rural areas is of 86.7
‰ for the global population.
It raises to 104.2 ‰ for the
Literacy and Education Rates :
90% of Dalits in rural areas
are illiterate whereas only 10%
of the non Dalit community are. Women are especially concerned
by this problem.
The situation of Women :
Doubly submitted to the burden of social structures because
of their untouchability and their gender, the women Dalit
are a group the DACA is paticularly concerned with. A number
of programs are reserved for them (agricultural cooperatives,
formation to become teachers or secretaries) so as to give
them the means for a certain autonomy. Experience shows that
they often reveal themselves to be very good managers and
team leaders, unlike the men who are often prey to alcohol
Chief Minister :
Selvi Jeya Lalitha .
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