This is a list of famous and notable Tamil people
.This would include persons who are known to a large number of people and is not based on the extent of their popularity. Neither is the list viewed from the context of the present. Their fame could be brief, what matters is that they were well-known during the peak of their popularity.
This list also includes emigrant Tamils and could be taken as a list of famous Tamils.
Administrators and Heads of State
Presidents of the Indian Union
Presidents of Other Countries
Governor-General of India
Dewans of Princely States
- Ramayyan Dalawa, Dewan of Travancore from 1737 to 1756.
- Sir A. Seshayya Sastri (1828-1903), Indian administrator. Dewan of Travancore from 1872 to 1877 and Pudukkottai from 1878 to 1894.
- Ramiengar, Dewan of Travancore from 1881 to 1887
- Sir K. Seshadri Iyer, longest serving Dewan of Mysore state.
- Shungrasoobyer, Dewan of Travancore from 1892 to 1898.
- P. Rajagopalachari, Dewan of Cochin from 1897 to 1901 and Travancore from 1904 or 1906 to 1914.
- Sir V.T.Krishnamachari - Dewan of Baroda.
- R. K. Shanmukham Chetty, Dewan of Cochin from 1931 to 1945.
- Sir C.P. Ramaswami Iyer (1879-1966), Advocate General of State of Madras in the 1920s, penultimate Dewan of Travancore
- Arcot Ramasamy Mudaliar, last Dewan of Mysore state.
Indian Independence Movement
- Puli Thevar, Polygar chieftain who fought the British East India Company in the 1750s and 1760s. First general of Tamil origin to fight against the British.
- Kattabomman (1760-1799), Polygar chief of Panchalakurichi who fought the British in the First Polygar War. He was captured by the British at the end of the war and hanged.
- The Maruthu Pandiyar brothers Periya Marudhu and Chinna Marudhu who fought the British in the First and Second Polygar Wars.
- Dheeran Chinnamalai (1756-1805), Polygar chieftain and feudatory of Tipu Sultan who fought the British in the Second Polygar War.
- Sir S. Subramania Iyer (1842-1925), lawyer, jurist and theosophist who co-founded the Home Rule Movement along with Annie Besant, Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Mohammad Ali Jinnah. He is affectionately called Grand Old Man of South India.
- G. Subramania Iyer (1855-1916), Freedom fighter and founder of "The Hindu" English newspaper.
- V.O. Chidambaram Pillai (1872–1936), independence fighter, who launched the first Indian ship on Indian waters under British Rule.
- V. V. S Iyer (1881-1925) Tamil scholar and freedom fighter.
- Subramanya Bharathy (1882-1921), Indian freedom fighter, Tamil poet and social reformer. Often regarded as the national poet of Tamil Nadu.
- V. Kalyanasundaram (1883–1953), Scholar and independence fighter
- Subramaniya Siva (1884-1925), Freedom fighter and close associate of Bharathi and V.V.S.Iyer
- Sir P. S. Sivaswami Iyer
- Sathyamurthy (1887-1943), Indian freedom fighter and leader of the Congress party in the erstwhile Madras presidency.
- Vanchinathan (1886-1911), Patriot who killed General Ash and committed suicide at Maniyachi.
- Champakaraman Pillai(1891-1934), independence fighter
- Kalki Sadasivam (1902-1997), Freedom fighter and husband of famous singer M.S. Subbulakshmi.
- Tiruppur Kumaran, independence fighter
- Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar (1908–1964), independence fighter and All India Forward Bloc Leader.
- QUID-E-Milath Mohamed Ismail, independence fighter, Member of Parliament and was the President of Indian Muslim League.
- Lakshmi Sehgal (1914-), Head of Rani Jhansi Brigade, women's wing of the INA and a close associate of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose. Presidential candidate in 2002 President's election.
- Janaki Thevar
Independence Movements in Other Countries
Ex-Ministers in the Union government
- C. Subramaniam (1910–2000), Former Union Minister, Bharat Ratna Awardee & Father of the Indian 'Green Revolution'.
- R. K. Shanmukham Chetty (1892–1953), first Finance Minister of independent India.
- Mohan Kumaramangalam, Eminent Lawyer, Former Union Minister and Son of P. Subbarayan.
- Rangarajan Kumaramangalam, Eminent Lawyer, Former Union Minister & Congress/BJP Leader. Son of Mohan Kumaramangalam.
- K. Santhanam (1895–1980), Freedom Fighter & the First Railway Minister of independent India.
- T.T. Krishnamachari (1899–1974), Industrialist & Indian Finance Minister 1956–1958 and 1964–1966, resigning from the position twice.
- Satyavani Muthu Former Union Cabinet Minister, and the one of first non-congress and dravidian party members from Tamil Nadu along with Aravinda Bala Pajanor to be part of the Union government.
- Aravinda Bala Pajanor, (born 1935) Senior Advocate, Former Union Minister for Petroleum, Natural Gas, Chemicals & Fertilizers, and one of the first non-congress and dravidian party members from Tamil Nadu along with Satyavani Muthu to be part of the Union government.
- [R.V.Swaminathan 1907–1984, Freedom Fighter and Minister of State for Agriculture.
- [Madhaviah Anantanarayanan, High Court Judge.
- P. Chidambaram (born 1945), Finance Minister of India.
- Mani Shankar Aiyar (born 1941), Panchayat Raj, Youth Affairs, Sports and North East Region Minister of India.
- A.Raja,Communications and Information Technology Minister of India.
- Dr. Anbumani, Health and Family Welfare Minister of India.
- T.R. Baalu, Shipping, Highways and Road Transport Minister of India.
- Subbulakshmi Jegadeesan, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment of India.
- S. S. Palanimanickam, Minister of State for Finance of India.
- K Venkatapathy, Minister of State for Law and Justice of India.
- S Regupathy, Minister of State for Forests and Environment of India.
- EVKS Elangovan, Minister of State for Textiles of India.
- G.K. Vasan, Minister of State for Statistics and Programme Implementation of India.
- R Velu, Minister of State for Railways of India.
- V.Radhika Selvi, Minister of state for Home Affairs of India.
- S Jayakumar (born 1939), Deputy Prime Minister, Singapore.
- Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister of Education, Singapore (Sri Lankan Tamil ancestry).
- Vivian Balakrishnan (born 1961), Minister of Community Development, Youth and Sports, Singapore (half-Tamil, half-Chinese).
- S Rajaratnam (1915–2006), ex-Deputy Prime Minister, Singapore (Sri Lankan Tamil ancestry).
- S Dhanabalan, ex-Minister (various portfolios), Singapore.
- J. B. Jeyaretnam, ex-opposition leader, Singapor (Sri Lankan Tamil ancestry).
- P.P. Devaraj, Former Cabinet Minister of Srilanka.
- Radhakrishnan,Current Deputy Minister for Industry Affairs of Srilanka.
- Samy Vellu, Ex-Works Minister(Lost in 2008 election) and Leader of Malaysian Indian Congress, Malaysia.
- K.R. Somasundram (born 1930), Politician and member of Malaysian Indian Congress, Malaysia.
- Radhakrishna Padayachi (born 1950), Deputy Minister for Communication, Republic of South Africa.
- Gunasagaran Gounder, A prominent politician and a member of Fiji Labour Party, Fiji.
- Perumal Mupnar, A prominent politician and a member of Fiji Labour Party, Fiji.
- S. J. V. Chelvanayagam, Popularly known as "Thanthai Chelva", Leader and Father figure of Sri Lankan Tamils.
- S.P. Tamil Selvan, Head, Political wing of the LTTE.
- S. Thondaman, Leader of Indian Tamils of Sri Lanka and had served continuously for 21 years in the Sri Lankan Cabinet from 1978.
- N. Shanmugathasan, A prominent Communist politician, Sri Lanka.
- Joseph Pararajasingham (1934–2005), A Member of Parliament, Sri Lanka.
- Lakshman Kadirgamar (1932–2005), Ex-Foreign Minister, Sri Lanka.
- V.Aanandasangari, Member of Parliament for 26 years, Sri Lanka.
- C.Rajadurai, Minister 1977–1994 & Member of Parliament for 26 years, Sri Lanka.
- M.Sivasithamparam, Member of Parliament for 26 years & Chief opposition whip for 3years, Sri Lanka.
- R.Sampanthan, Member of Parliament for 21 years & Chief opposition whip for 9 months, Sri Lanka.
- Dr.Neelan Thiruchelvam, Constitutional Expert & Member of Parliament, Sri Lanka.
- Appapillai Amirthalingam, Leader of the opposition, Parliament of Sri Lanka.
- Douglas Devanandan, Leader of EPDP and Minister of Rehabilitation, Sri Lanka.
- K.W.Devanayagam, Minister of Home affairs 1977–1988 & Member of Parliament for 36 years, Sri Lanka.
Ramon Magsaysay Award
The Ramon Magsaysay Award was established in April 1957 in memory of Ramon Magsaysay, the late president of the Philippines.
The Ramon Magsaysay Awards are often considered as Asia's Nobel Prize.
Bharat Ratna is India's highest civilian honour.
Padma Vibhushan is India's second highest civilian honour.
This is NOT a complete list, please add/modify.
Padma Bhushan is India's third highest civilian honour.
The list is very big, a separate list is created.
List of Tamils conferred Padma Bhushan
Padma Shri is India's fourth highest civilian honour.
The list is very big, a separate list is created.
List of Tamils conferred Padma Shri
Param Vir Chakra
Param Vir Chakra is India's highest military honor.
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award is India’s highest sporting honour.
Arts, Music & Literature
The Arjuna Award was instituted in 1961 by the Government of India to recognize outstanding achievement in National sports.
The list is very big, a separate list is created.
List of Tamils conferred Arjuna Award
Industrialists & CEO's
- Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar, Industrialist, Philanthropist & Educator who established Annamalai University.
- Raja Sir Muthiah Chettiar, Industrialist, Philanthropist and First Mayor of Madras.
- RM.Alagappa Chettiar (1909–1957), Industrialist, Philanthropist & Educator who established Alagappa University.
- M A Chidambaram Chettiar, Industrialist.
- S. Ramadorai, CEO of Tata Consultancy Services
- PollachiN.Mahalingam Gounder, Educator, Industrialist and Philanthropist.
- Kalanidhi Maran, Media Baron.
- Karumuttu Thiagarajan Chettiar, Industrialist, Philanthropist & Educator.
- Dr.M.A.M Ramasamy Chettiar, Industrialist, Philanthropist and Pro-Chancellor of Annamalai University.
- Shiv Nadar, Chairman HCL Technologies.
- Namakkal P.G.Periasamy, Founder and CEO PGP Groups.
- B Muthuraman, Managing Director, Tata Steel.
- Dharmaveera K Govindaswamy Naidu, Industrialist & Philanthropist
- Venu Srinivasan, Chairman of TVS Motor Company and Sundaram-Clayton.
- Mallika Srinivasan, CEO of Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited
- M. V. Subbiah, CEO of the Murugappa Group.
- KG Baalakrishnan, Chairman and Managing Director KG Group of companies, Coimbatore
- Indra Nooyi, Chairperson of PepsiCoWorld.
- Lakshmi Narayanan, CEO & President of Cognizant Technology Solutions U.S.
- Ram Sriram, One of the founding members of Google Inc.
- V. S. Rajendran, CEO & President of Numeric Technologies Limited U.S
- Robert Chandran, Founder and CEO of Chemoil Corporation, U.S..
- K. B. Chandrashekar, Founder and CEO of e4e Inc & Jamcracker, Inc, U.S.
- Shoba Purushothaman, Co-Founder and CEO of The NewsMarket Inc, U.S..
- Bala S. Manian (born 1944), Silicon Valley Entrepreneur , U.S.
- S Dhanabalan, Chairman, DBS Bank (Singapore).
- J.Y.M.Pillay, Chairman, Singapore Exchange (stock market) (Sri Lankan Tamil ancestry).
- Marimutu Sinivasan, Founder and Chairman of Texmaco Group, Indonesia, a giant textile, machinery and aotomotive manufacturer.
- Ananda Krishnan, CEO of Maxis Communications and MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems, Malaysia.
- Sir. A. Ramaswami Mudaliar, Mayor of Madras (1928-30), Vice Chancellor of University of Kerala(1951-61),Travancore.
- Dr. A. Lakshmanaswami Mudaliar, First Indian principal of the Madras Medical College and Longest serving Vice Chancellor of the University of Madras.
- Dr. Chandran D.S.Devaneasan,First Indian Principal of Madras Christian College and First Vice Chancellor of North Eastern Hill University.
- V.L Ethiraj Mudaliar, Founder of Ethiraj College for Women
- Padmabhushan N. Ramaswami Ayyar, Founder of Seethalakshmi Ramaswami College and Savithri Vidyasala Hindu Girls' Higher Secondary School, Trichy, Tamil Nadu, India
- Malcolm Adiseshiah (1910–1994), Economist, Former Deputy Director General of UNESCO & founder MIDS (Madras Institute of Development Studies).
- V C Kulandaiswamy, An eminent Educator and Technologist. Formerly Vice Chancellor of Anna University, IGNOU & Tamil Virtual University.
- Mu.Varadharasan, Outstanding Tamil Scholar, Winner of Sahithya Academy award and Ex-Vice Chancellor of Madurai Kamaraj University.
- Sivaraj Ramaseshan (1923–2003), Distinguished Scientist & ex-Director of the IISc.
- M. Anandakrishnan, Chairman, Madras Institute of Development Studies & Formerly Vice Chancellor of Anna University.
- Arjun Appadurai, Contemporary Social theorist, Educator & Founder of the School of International Relations, JNU, New Delhi.
- M Lakshmanan An eminent Microbiologist, Former Vice Chacellor of Madurai Kamaraj University & Ex-President of Association of Microbiologists of India.
- Dr. V.C.Balasubramaniam - Director, Institute of Pathology, MMC,
- Dr.M Murugesh Mudaliar, Principal, BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore.
- Dr.T Kuthalingam An eminent Scientist and Technologist, Former Vice Chacellor of Madurai Kamaraj University.
- Dr.H.S.S. Lawrence, An eminent Educator who was formerly Director of School Education, TamilNadu and UNESCO Expert to Government of Afghanistan. He is known as the Architect of TamilNadu Higher Secondary Education and Father of Vocational Education in TamilNadu
- M. S. Swaminathan, A great Agricultural Scientist and is the Scientific Father of Green Revolution in India.
Finance & Economics
- C. Rangarajan, Economist & Ex-Governor, Reserve Bank of India (1992–1997).
- C.K. Prahalad, Management Expert & Professor at the University of Michigan Business School.
- Marti Subrahmanyam, Finance Expert & Professor at New York University (NYU) & Board of Directors of Infosys & ICICI.
- Bala V. Balachandran, Management Expert & Professor at the Kellogg School of Management.
- Ravi Jagannathan, Economist & Professor at the Kellogg School of Management.
- Lakshman Krishnamurthi, Marketing Expert & Professor at the Kellogg School of Management.
- H.V.R.Iyengar, Ex-Governor, Reserve Bank of India (1957–1962).
- S. Jagannathan, Ex-Governor, Reserve Bank of India (1970–1975) and Executive at the World Bank & IMF.
- M. Narasimham, Banker, Ex-Governor, Reserve Bank of India (1977) and Executive at the World Bank & IMF.
- S. Venkitaramanan, Ex-Governor, Reserve Bank of India (1990–1992).
- T. N. Srinivasan (born 1933), Economist and the Samuel C. Park, Jr. Professor of Economics at Yale University.
- Raghuram Rajan, Ex-Chief Economist, IMF.
- V.G. Narayanan, Management Expert & Professor at the Harvard Business School.
- Srinivasa Aiyangar Ramanujan (1887–1920), Brilliant 20th century Mathematician.
- Subbayya Sivasankaranarayana Pillai (1901–1950), well known for his work in Number theory.
- Kollagunta Gopalaiyer Ramanathan (1920–1992), known for his well-recognized achievements in Number theory.
- Christie Jayaratnam Eliezer (1918–2001) Mathematician & Tamil rights activist from Sri Lanka and a recipient of the Order of Australia.
- C. S. Seshadri, Director, Chennai Mathematical Institute and Trieste Awardee.
- S.R. Srinivasa Varadhan - Mathematician & Fellow of the Royal Society
- Professor Mudumbai Narasimhan, Mathematician & Fellow of the Royal Society (1996)
- Professor Madabusi S Raghunathan, Mathematician & Fellow of the Royal Society
- C. P. Ramanujam (1938–1974), worked on number theory and algebraic geometry.
- T.S.Vijayaraghavan (1902–1955), Worked on Pisot-Vijayaraghavan number.
- Ravindran Kannan, Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics at Yale University. Joint winner of the 1991 Fulkerson Prize in discrete mathematics for work on the volumes of convex bodies.
- Rangaswamy Srinivasan ultraviolet excimer laser / LASIK. inventor at IBM Research.
- V.S. Ramachandran, Neuroscientist; Director Professor at UC San Diego.
- S.S. Ratnam, Pioneer in Singapore in-vitro fertilisation. (Sri Lankan Tamil ancestry)
- Ganapathi Thanikaimoni, Palynologist, French Institute of Pondicherry, awarded the Fyson Prize in Natural Science.
- Sundaram Ramakrishnan, Cancer researcher and Professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
- Mohammed Rela, one of the World's top liver transplant surgeons at the King's College Hospital.
- R. Venkataswami, founder of the Department of Plastic Surgery at the Stanley Medical College.
- Govindappa Venkataswamy, Founder of Aravind Eye Hospital
- Ravi Iyengar, Professor and founder of the Iyengar Laboratory, Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
- Mayilvahanan Natarajan, Orthopedic Surgeon and pioneer of limb salvage surgery in bone tumours.
- R.P.Shanmugam, Founder, Dept of Surgical Gastroenterology, Stanley Medical College, Cehnnai and the First to perform a Liver transplant in a Government Hospital in India.
- Dr. Sukumar Devotta, Chemical Engineer by profession and Director of The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which shared The Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 with Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.
- Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, 1930 Nobel Prize Winner in Physics.
- Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, 1983 Nobel Prize Winner in Physics.
- Dr K. Kasturirangan, Former Chairman of ISRO and present director of National institute of advanced studies (NIAS).
- Dr.Raja Ramanna, Former Chairman of Dept. of Atomic Energy and presided over India's first nuclear test in 1974.
- Dr.P.K.Iyengar, Former Chairman of Dept. of Atomic Energy.
- Dr.M.R.Srinivasan, Former Chairman of Dept. of Atomic Energy.
- R. Chidambaram, Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister of India & ex-Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission.
- S.R. Ranganathan, Eminent librarian who devised the five laws of library science.
- Dr.A. Sivathanu Pillai, Defence Scientist and the CEO of the Indo-Russian Brahmos company, which developed and manufactures the world's one and only supersonic cruise missile.
- G. N. Ramachandran (1922–2001), one of the most important Indian scientists of the 20th century made major contributions to Biology and Physics.
- Ranjan Roy Daniel (1923–2005), Physicist at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research & ex-Chairman of the Advisory Committee for Space Science at ISRO.
- Venkatraman Radhakrishnan (born 1929) is an internationally renowned Space Scientist and member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
- Mylswamy Annadurai (born 1958), Project Director of ISRO's Chandrayaan-1.
- R. V. Perumal, Former Director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre.
- Vedhachalam,Former Director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre.
- Veeraraghavan,Director,ISRO Inertial Systems Unit.
- Dr Krishnan. Associate Director,ISRO Inertial Systems Unit.
- S Ramakrishnan,Associate Director,Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre.
- Annamalai Pillai, Director,Satish Dhawan Space Centre
- M Natarajan ,Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister, DGR&D and Secretary, DRDO
- Dr. Krishnamurthy Sekhar, Chief Controller R&D (Implementation), DRDO
- Dr W Selvamurthy, Chief Controller R&D (Life Sciences) & R&D (Human Resources), DRDO
- G Elangovan, Chief Controller R & D (R&M),DRDO
- Mr.G.D.Naidu - Former Chairman of UMS and Scientist
- A. E. Muthunayagam, Former Director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre& Chairman of Board of Governors, IIT Chennai.
- V.S. Arunachalam, ex-Defence Scientist DRDO & Professor at Carnegie Mellon University.
- Ramanuja Vijayaraghavan (born 1931), Physicist at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
- Poondi Kumaraswamy (1931–1988), Hydrologist and inventor of Kumaraswamy distribution.
Arts & Music
- K. V. Mahadevan, Musician, Composer & Winner, National Film Award for Best Music Direction (1968) & (1980).
- M. S. Viswanathan, Musician & Composer.
- V.S.Narasimhan, Musician , renowned violinist , composer.
- Ilayaraaja (born 1943), Musician, Composer & Winner, National Film Award for Best Music Direction (1984), (1986) & (1989).
- A. R. Rahman (born 1967), Musician, Composer & Winner, National Film Award for Best Music Direction (1993), (1997), (2002) & (2003).
- Yuvan Shankar Raja, Musician, Composer & Best Musician in Cyprus Film Festival in 2006.
- Harris Jayaraj (born 1975) is a film composer from Tamil cinema.
- Mani Sharma Yanamandra (born July 11,Kumbakonam,Tamil Nadu) is a film composer from Tamil & Telugu cinema.
- Karthik raja is a film composer from Tamil cinema.
- Xavier Naidoo, German singer/songwriter and founder of Söhne Mannheims.
- M.I.A., (Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam) British musician.
- Yogi B (Yogeswaran Veerasingam), Malaysian hiphop artist, founder of Poetic Ammo
- Landslyde, (Chandrakumar Balakrishnan) Lead singer of Dragon Red, a Malaysian Rap Metal band and former member of Poetic Ammo.
- Kamahl (Kandiah Kamalesvaran), Australian cabaret/easy listening singer.
- Tharini Mudaliar, Australian singer and violinist.
- Shaheen Sheik, Californian singer/song-writer.
- Clarence Jey, Californian producer/song-writer for Emmy winning TV animation Growing Up Creepie.
- Jacintha Abisheganaden, Singaporean singer.
- Moksha, Heavy metal band from Chennai.
- Rudra, Singaporean Death metal band.
- A.P. Nagarajan
- A. Bhimsingh
- A. R. Murugadoss
- Balu Mahendra (born 1946) Director, Cinematographer & Winner, National Film Award for Best Cinematography (1978) & (1983)
- Bharathiraja (born 1941), Winner, National Film Award for Best Screenplay (2001)
- C.V. Sridhar
- J. Mahendran
- K. Balachander (born 1930), Winner, National Film Award for Best Screenplay (1982)
- Mani Ratnam (born 1956) Multi National Film Award winner.
- B. Lenin, Winner, National Film Award for Best Directing (2002)
- Agaththian, Winner, Film Award for Best Directing] & National Film Award for Best Screenplay (1997)
- R.K. Selvamani
- S. Shankar (born 1963)
- Kamal Hassan
- S.J. Suryah (born 1968)
- Kothamangalam Subbu , poet, lyricist, writer, actor and director
- Perarasu , poet, lyricist, writer, actor and director
The list is very big, a separate list is created
List of Tamil Actors
The list is very big, a separate list is created
List of Tamil Actors
Sports & Games
- A. Palanisamy, First Arjuna Award winner for volley ball (1961).
- G E Sridharan, Arjuna Award winner.
- Kumaran, played for Indian team and currently playing for IOB,Chennai.
- Sundaram, former setter for Indian team and Indian Overseas Bank,Chennai.
- Mangala Jeyabalan, former setter for Indian team.
- Muthuraj, played for Indian team and currently playing for Indian Bank, Chennai.
- Sayee Krishnan, played for Indian team and currently playing for Indian Bank, Chennai.
- Pradeep John, represented India in Asian Games 2006 as part of Beach Volleyball.
- Mohan Poothanathan, represented India in Asian Games 2006 as part of Beach Volleyball.
- Sivaraman, played for Indian team and considered the best back row attacker during his playing time.
- Natarajan J, playing currently for India and IOB, Chennai. Also the captain of the tamilnadu volleyball team.
- Sivabalan, played for india and currently playing for IOB, Chennai.
- Selvarasu, played for Indian junior team and currently playing for ICF, Chennai.
- Raj Mohan, played for Indian junior team and currently playing for ICF, Chennai.
- Kamaraj, represented Indian youth team which finished 2nd in the world championships.
- Viswanathan Anand, World Chess Champion and the first Indian to earn the title of Grandmaster.
- Manuel Aaron, The first Indian to earn the title of International Master.
- Murugan Thiruchelvam, Chess player from United Kingdom.
- Krishnan Sasikiran, Grandmaster & Arjuna Award winner for Chess (2002).
- S. Vijayalakshmi, Six time Women's national champion of India, the First Women Grandmaster from India & Arjuna Award winner for Chess (2000).
- S. Meenakshi, Women Grandmaster and sister of S. Vijayalakshmi.
- Aarthie Ramaswamy, Women Grandmaster and under-18 girls' World Chess champion.
- R. B. Ramesh, Grandmaster and National Champion of India.
- P. Mahesh Chandran, Grandmaster.
- Ramachandran Ramesh, Grandmaster & Winner of the 2002 British Chess Championship.
- Deepan Chakkravarthy, Grandmaster & Winner of the Asian Junior Championship at Colombo in 2002.
- G. B. Prakash, Grandmaster Elect.
- P. Konguvel, International Master.
- Lanka Ravi, International Master.
- S. Arun Prasad, International Master.
- S. Kidambi, International Master.
- K. Murugan, International Master.
- T. S. Ravi, International Master.
- V. Saravanan, International Master.
- T. N. Parameswaran, International Master.
- R. Balasubramanian, International Master.
- S. Poobesh Anand, International Master.
- M. R. Venkatesh, International Master.
- N. Sudhakar Babu, International Master.
- Buchi Babu Naidu (died 1908)- Father of indian cricket in madras.
- Cota Ramaswami (born 1896, presumed dead), represented India in both International cricket & Tennis.
- M.J. Gopalan (1909–2003), represented India in both International Hockey & Cricket.
- C. R. Rangachari (1916–1993), Pace Bowler, Indian Cricket Team.
- C. D. Gopinath (born 1930), Batsman, Indian Cricket Team.
- S. Venkataraghavan (born 1945), ex-Captain of Indian Cricket Team and Test & ODI umpire.
- K. Srikkanth (born 1959), ex-Captain of Indian Cricket Team.
- T.A. Sekhar (born 1956), Pace Bowler, Indian Cricket Team.
- T. E. Srinivasan, Batsman, Indian Cricket Team.
- L. Sivaramakrishnan (born 1965), Spin Bowler, Indian Cricket Team.
- V. B. Chandrasekhar, Batsman, Indian Cricket Team.
- Bharat Arun (born 1962), Pace Bowler, Indian Cricket Team.
- Murali Kartik (born 1976), Spin Bowler, Indian Cricket Team.
- Sadagoppan Ramesh (born 1975), Batsman, Indian Cricket Team.
- Lakshmipathy Balaji (born 1981), Pace Bowler, Indian Cricket Team.
- Dinesh Karthik (born 1985), Wicketkeeper, Indian Cricket Team.
- Vignesh Venkatramam, (born 1984), Wicketkeeper - Batsman, Portslade Cricket Club, Sussex, England.
- Muttiah Muralitharan (born 1972), Highest Wicket taker in the Sri Lankan Cricket Team.
- Russel Arnold - Cricketer of the Sri Lankan team
- Vinodhan John, Pace Bowler, First Sri Lankan Tamil Test cricketer 1982.
- Kandiah Thirugnansampandapillai Francis, International Test & ODI umpire from Sri Lanka.
- A Varadarajan, Batsman, Canadian Cricket Team.
- Sanjayan Thuraisingam (born 1969), Pace Bowler, Canadian Cricket Team.
- Easwaran Sinnathamby (born 1973), Pace Bowler, Canadian Cricket Team.
- Kantharatnam Shanthikumar (born 1954), Pace Bowler, Canadian Cricket Team.
- Mahendra Nagamootoo, West Indies Cricket Team.
FIFA Committees: member of FIFA Strategic Studies Committee, Organising Committee for the FIFA World Cup, Football Committee
Awards: FIFA Centennial
- Subbiah Rajarathinam, Captain of the Indian Kabaddi team that won the Gold in 1994 Hiroshima Asian Games.
- Narain Karthikeyan, Coimbatore, India's first Formula 1 driver.
- S. Karivardhan, Coimbatore, Car Constructor and National Champion.
- N. Leelakrishnan, Coimbatore, 7 Times National Rally Champion.
- Naren Kumar, Coimbatore, 4 Times National Rally Champion.
- J. Anand, Coimbatore, 3 Times National F3 Grand Prix winner.
- R. Gopinath, Coimbatore, F3 National Champion and Founder of SpitFire Motorsports.
- B. Vijay Kumar, Coimbatore, Fiat Champion and LG sports founder.
- G. R. Karthikeyan, Coimbatore, 7 Times South India Rally winner and father of Narain Karthikeyan.
- Akbar Ebrahim, Chennai, 3 Times National F3 Grand Prix winner.
- Thirumuruga Kirupananda Variyar, Scholarly Saint.
- Rukmini Devi Arundale, Bharatanatyam dancer & fonder of Kalakshetra.
- Balasaraswati, Bharatanatyam dancer.
- Alarmel Valli, Bharatanatyam dancer.
- Chitra Visweswaran, Bharatanatyam dancer.
- Padma Subramanyam, Bharatanatyam dancer.
- Medha Hari, Bharatanatyam dancer.
- Pithukuli Murugadas, Divine Musician who is know for his songs on Lord Murugan.
- K. B. Sundarambal, Actress/Singer.
- Sirkali Govindarajan, Vocalist and Carnatic Music exponent.
- Dr. Sirkali G. Siva Chidambaram, Vocalist and Carnatic Music exponent.
Tamil Language Icons
- Alwars, There are 12 Alwars, who are devotees of Lord Vishnu and exponents of Vaishnavism.
- Nayanmars, There are 63 Nayanmars, who are devotees of Lord Siva and exponents of Saivism.
- Ramalinga Swamigal (1823–1873), popularly known as Vallalar.
- Ramanuja (1017–1137), Philosopher and one of the most important saint of Vaishnavism.
- Appayya Dikshidar (1520–1593), Philosopher, followed Advaita School of Indian Philosophy.
- Ramana Maharshi (1879–1950).
- Yogaswami (1872–1964), A Great Spiritual Leader from Jaffna, Sri Lanka.
- Sivananda Saraswati (1887–1963), A well known proponent of Yoga and Vedanta.
- Duraisamy Simon Lourdusamy (born 1924), Cardinal Priest of S Maria delle Grazie alle Fornaci fuori Porta Cavalleggeri, Vatican City.
- Dayananda Saraswati, Founder of the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam.
- Yogiraj Shri Vethathiri Maharishi, Founder of the The World Community Service Center, an organisation striving for World peace from 1911 and propagator of the famous blessing phrase of "Vaazgha Vaiyagam Vaazgha Valamudan" (வாழ்க வையகம் வாழ்க வளமுடன்) roughly translated as 'Be Blessed by the Divine'.
- Sri Nithyananda (born 1978), Founder of the Nithyananda Foundation.
- Bala Prajapathi Adikalar, the present Pattathu Ayya of Swamithope pathi and leader of Ayyavazhi religion.
- D. G. S. Dhinakaran, prominent Christian Evangelist and founder of Jesus Calls Ministries.
- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar,is a spiritual and humanitarian leader.
- Thiruvalluvar, Saint Poet & Author of Thirukural.
- Tholkaapiyar, Author of Tholkaapiam, one of the first Tamil grammar books.
- Illango Adigal, Saint Poet & Author of Silappathikaram.
- Srivilliputhurar, Author of Tamil Mahabharatham.
- Seethalai Saathanar, Author of Manimegalai.
- Kambar, Author of Kamba Ramayanam.
- Auvaiyar, Women Saint & Author of Aathichoodi.
- Tirutakakatevar, Author of Jivaka Chintamani.
- Eelattu Poothanthevanar, Classical Sri Lankan Poet of Sangam period.
- Subramanya Bharathy (1882–1921), Nationalist Tamil Poet.
- Bharathidasan (1891–1964), Tamil Poet & Rationalist.
- Pudhumaipithan (1906–1948), Tamil Fiction Writer known for his Modern outlook and Progressive thinking.
- Prof. Karmegha Konar (1889–1957), Tamil Poet.
- Akilan, Novelist.
- Thi.Janakiraman, Novelist.
- Laa.Sa. Ramamirutham, Novelist.
- Kalki Krishnamurthy (1899–1954), Freedom fighter, novelist and journalist.
- Jayakanthan (born 1934), Writer & Novelist.
- Kannadasan (1927–1981), Popularly called as Kavi Arasu Poet, Film lyricist & Winner, National Film Award for Best Lyrics (1969).
- Vairamuthu (born 1953), Poet, Film lyricist & Winner, National Film Award for Best Lyrics (1986), (1993), (1995), (2000) & (2003).
- Indira Soundarajan, Novelist & Short story Writer.
- Ashoka Mitran (born 1931), Novelist & Short story Writer.
- R. K. Narayan (1906–2001), English novelist & Essayist.
- Koththamangalam Subbu, Poet.
- Sandilyan, Novelist.
- Pa. Vijay, Film lyricist & Winner, National Film Award for Best Lyrics (2005).
- Vaali, Film lyricist.
- Sujatha (born 1935), contemporary Tamil & Film screen play writer.
- Krishna Srinivas (born 1913), World Poet.
- Kaavya Viswanathan (born 1987), Novelist.
People who are not natives of Tamil Nadu, but lived/live in Tamil Nadu