The people of Tamil Nadu are mainly Dravidian. The Dravidians were the original inhabitants of the subcontinent in the Indus Valley region. For many reasons, not yet completely clear, they were forced to push southwards and came to live in the region of present day Tamil Nadu. 80% of the population now is Dravidian but there are communities of indigenous tribes. The Toda people who live in the Nilgiri Hills are accomplished silversmiths. Other communities are those of the Irula, Badaga, Kota and Kurumba. Tamilians today are trying to balance the old with the new. While the orthodox old guard still oversees matters of the family and elders must be respected for their age, the younger lot is coming into its own in keeping with modern times.
Tamil is spoken all over the state and Tamilians are in fact very proud of their language. They have resisted efforts behind the promotion of Hindi (which has been designated India’s national language) all over India. Many do speak a fair bit of English, albeit a heavily accented version, and so visitors have few problems communicating with the local people.