R. B. SREEKUMAR, IPS (Retd.)
Former DGP, Gujarat.
Plot No. 193, Sector – 8,
Tel. (R) 079-23247876, (M) 09428016117
Letter No. 3-A/2015/TK/HRD
Dated the 9th January 2015.
Respected Smt. SMRITI IRANI
Hon’ble Union Cabinet Minister for Human Resources Development
Room No 302, C Wing, Shastri Bhawan,
Rajendra Prasad Road, New Delhi, Delhi – 110001.
Sub : Request for incorporating ideals in Tamil Classic book – Tirukkural by Poet – Saint Tiruvalluvar in school curriculum.
Respected Minister Madam,
Often Indian Education System has been criticized for its failure in imparting adequate values of life, canons of ethics, emotional intelligence and human skill to students. Resultantly, highly educated people engaged in public service do display empathy – deficiency in service delivery, to the people, the real sovereigns of India. Abominable levels of corruption, illegality, nepotism, abusive exclusivism and so on prevailing as conventionally practicing sub-culture among political and administrative bureaucracy, serving Union and State Govts, had pushed our country to condemnable depths of degradation and ignominy. The bitter and painful truth is
that India has the highest number of informal slaves, working as bonded labour, in the world, besides being categorized in a higher position than sub – Saharan African nations and many under developed countries for the volume of corruption, illegal deposit of ill-gotten black money in foreign banks, gender prejudice etc. Inclusion of ideals of empowerment of the weakest Indians ( Antyodaya), value – addition to oneself and others and courage of conviction enshrined in Indian classical literature, in the school curriculum, in my view, would be a productively purposeful curative move to intrinsically remedy the current situation.
2. Recently, the Hindu religious book, the Bhagavad Gita, was included in school curriculum by Haryana State Govt. ( Media report, Times of India), dated 4th January 2015.
3. Sanskrit and Tamil are two Indian classical languages originated in Before Christian Era (BCE). Though both the languages produced voluminous enlightening literature encompassing practically all facets of human life, Sanskrit had ceased as a vibrant and popularly spoken language from 11th Century of Christian Era (CE). Lord Buddha also preached in the language of Pali and not Sanskrit. But Tamil language had sustained its literary eminence, depth, vitality and greatness from 3rd Century of BCE, with unbroken continuity and vibrancy.
4. Tirukkural authored by Saint Poet Tiruvalluvar (estimated to have lived between the 3rd and 1st Century BCE) is the best book in Tamil literature. The poet had codified values evolved in the thoughts of Vedic Brahminism, Buddhism and Jainism, after filtering out religious, ritualistic, exclusivist and sectarian ideas and so this book remained a clinically secularism-based treatise, with sound logic and reason. Tirukkural projects a remarkable synthesis of the best of Indian religions at that time. Western Indologists, highly impressed by Tirukkural, had translated it, in early 18th Century, into most of European languages. Dr. G. U. Pope, who translated it into English, had ranked it with the best of world literature of all languages. He hailed Tiruvalluvar as the ‘Bard of Universal Men’. Dr. Albert Sehweitzer, philosopher – scientist – writer, in his book ‘Indian Thought and its Development’ observed “There hardly exist in the literature of the world a collection of maxims in which we find such lofty wisdom”. M. Ariel, the great French Savant, estimated Tirukkural as “A masterpiece of Tamil Literature, one of the highest and purest expressions of human thoughts”. Tamil spiritual poetess, Avvayar, a contemporary of Tiruvalluvar, who had closely studied Tiruvalluvar’s songsmithy, spoke in a Tamil song “Tiruvalluvar bores an atom, pores the seven seas (of knowledge) into its cavity and cutting the atom, offers its cross-section to us in the shape of the Kural”. Amazingly, there is no criticism or
adverse comments about the literacy style, craft, aesthetics and contents of Tirukkural from anybody – spiritual or secular critics.
5. Tiruvalluvar never took any dogmatic stand violating laws of biology and preached impractical spiritualism and celibacy. The book has 3 parts dealing with, (1) dharma, (moral code), (2) Artha, (wealth code, covering politics and administration) and (3) Kama (Love code). Comprehension and internalization of core values in Tirukural could act as a tonic for quality upgradation for the individual, family, community, society, nations and humanity. A few illustrative inspirational couplets (Kurals) are given below :-
(a) “Be pure in mind. That is dharma. All else is but pompous show” – (Kural No. 34).
(b) “That body where love dwells is the seat of life; all others are but skin-clad bones. (Kural No. 80).
(c) “The crown of wealth is one’s compassion; all other wealth is found even among meanest of men”. (Kural No. 241)
(d) “Water cleanses the body; truth cleanses the soul”. (Kural No. 298).
(e) “To track all things to their subtlest retreats is true knowledge” (Kural No. 355).
(f) “Strict enquiry, and impartial justice mark the rule of a just Monarch”. (Kural No. 541).
(g) “Verily the two eyes of a King are espionage and the celebrated code of laws”. (Kural No. 581).
(h) “Those who labour hard, undaunted by obstacles will overcome destiny” (Kural No.620).
(i) “Most stupid is the learned fool who remains disloyal to his own noble teaching”. (Kural No. 834).
6. Tirukural had never advocated abstention from genuine and legitimate love, unlike some religions advocating anti-biological dogma of Brahmacharya. Kural No. 1102 in the chapter, “the ecstasy of love’s union”, observes “the remedy for a disease lies not in the disease but in some healing balm; but not so the loved one who is at once the disease and cure for the pangs of love”.
7. The One Thousand Three Hundred Thirty gnomic aphorisms in Tirukkural are comparable to maxims of Gautam Buddha, parables of Jesus Christ, Proverbs in Bible, Hadits of Prophet Mohammad (blessings and peace be upon him by Allah) and teachings of Chinese philosophers- Lao-Tse and Confucius. There has been no controversy over authorship and
historicity of Tirukkural which was produced in historic period, unlike in the case of religious scriputures, mostly penned down in pre-historic mythologic times. Tirukural also does not project exclusive identity of any religion, ideology, dogmatic doctrines or system of faith.
8. In the light of the above, I humbly appeal to you for initiating action to incorporate contents of the Tamil classic, Tirukkural by Sage Tiruvalluvar in school curriculum, preferably in the Middle and High school levels in India.
9. May I request you to favour me with a reply about follow up action by the Union Govt. in this matter.
(R B Sreekumar )