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President quotes Thirukkural while addressing Parliament


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Thirukkural

Mains level : Ancient sangam literature

President Ram Nath Kovind quoted a couplet from Thirukkural while addressing the joint Houses of Parliament for Budget Session.

What did the President quote?

  • ‘Karka Kasadara Karpavai Kattrapin Nirka Atharku Thaka’ was the couplet chosen by him to reiterate the importance of the New Education Policy.
  • The couplet insists on thorough and flawless learning and adhering to what one has learnt.

What is Thirukkural?

  • The Tirukkuṟaḷ (meaning ‘sacred verses’), or shortly the Kural, is a classic Tamil language text consisting of 1,330 short couplets, or kurals, of seven words each.
  • The text is divided into three books with aphoristic teachings on virtue (aram), wealth (porul) and love (inbam), respectively.
  • Considered one of the greatest works ever written on ethics and morality, it is known for its universality and secular nature.

Three major parts of the book

  1. Aram : Book of Virtue (Dharma), dealing with moral values of an individual and essentials of yoga philosophy
  2. Porul : Book of Polity (Artha), dealing with socio-economic values, polity, society and administration
  3. Inbam: Book of Love (Kama), dealing with psychological values and love

Who authored it and when?

  • Its authorship is traditionally attributed to Valluvar, also known in full as Thiruvalluvar.
  • The text has been dated variously from 300 BCE to 5th century CE.
  • The traditional accounts describe it as the last work of the third Sangam, but linguistic analysis suggests a later date of 450 to 500 CE and that it was composed after the Sangam period.

Cultural significance of Thirukkural

  • The Kural is traditionally praised with epithets and alternative titles, including “the Tamil Veda” and “the Divine Book.”
  • Written on the foundations of ahimsa, it emphasizes non-violence and moral vegetarianism as virtues for an individual.
  • In addition, it highlights truthfulness, self-restraint, gratitude, hospitality, kindness, goodness, duty, giving, and so forth.
  • It covers a wide range of social and political topics such as king, ministers, taxes, justice, forts, war, greatness of army and soldier’s honor.
  • It emphasizes death sentence for the wicked, agriculture, education, abstinence from alcohol and intoxicants.
  • It also includes chapters on friendship, love, sexual unions, and domestic life.

Read these quotes and bookmark them. They can be used in essays:

  1. Nothing is impossible for those who act after wise counsel and careful thought.
  2. Real kindness seeks no return.
  3. The only gift is giving to the poor; All else is exchange.
  4. Friendship with the wise gets better with time, as a good book gets better with age.
  5. Worthless are those who injure others vengefully, while those who stoically endure are like stored gold.
  6. Among a man’s many good possessions, A good command of speech has no equal. Prosperity and ruin issue from the power of the tongue. Therefore, guard yourself against thoughtless speech.
  7. A fortress is of no use to cowards.
  8. Even the ignorant may appear very worthy, If they keep silent before the learned.


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