Indian Government Ignores Tamil Poet Thiruvalluvar
(Statue in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu)
TAMIL TRIBUNE, April 2013 (ID. 2013-04-01)
(Alternate spellings: Thiruvalluvar - Tiruvalluvar, Thirukural - Tirukural)
Indian Government Tourism Ministry announced on July 2, 2003 that Mamallapuram, Kancheepuram and Kanyakumari (in Tamil Nadu State, India) would be developed as "hubs of culture, tourism and clean civic life". People of Tamil Nadu were elated that these three places, which were already tourist attractions with funding from the state government, would get a fillip now from the Indian government.
When details of how the Indian Government Tourism Ministry would promote
Kanyakumari as a tourist attraction came out, the sweet taste of Indian
government involvement turned sour in some people's mouth. Indian government
would develop the Vivekananda Rock Memorial and put a "sound and light show"
with emphasis revolving around "Vivekananda, Sankara and Gandhi" (The
Hindu; July 3, 2003). Since Gandhi's name is mentioned here, we assumed that the
Gandhi Memorial (Gandhi Mandapam) in Kanyakumari would also get some mention in the sound and light
show. There is no mention of the monumental 133-feet Thiruvalluvar statue erected
on the tiny island adjacent to Vivekananda Rock. Thiru Valluvar (or Valluvan) is one
of the greatest poets in the world. His book of Tamil verses (couplets) "Thirukural"
(or Thiru Kural) was written about 2000 years ago and has been translated into
many languages around the world. It gained the respect of many great scholars
and philosophers from around the world. The great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy
said that he had taken the concept of non-violence from a German translation of Thiru
Kural. India's Mahatma Gandhi said of Kural: "A textbook of indispensable
authority on moral life. The maxims of Valluvar have touched my soul. There is
none who has given such a treasure of wisdom like him." Dr. Albert Schwaitzer said: "There hardly exists in the literature of the world a collection of maxims in which we find so much of wisdom."
Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature says: ""Sacred Couplets (that is
Thirukural) is considered a masterpiece of human thought, compared in India and abroad to the Bible, John Milton's Paradise Lost,
and the works of Plato."
Indian government hiding the great personalities of Tamil Nadu from Indian and foreign tourists is not new. It refused to install a statue of one of the greatest kings of South Asia, the Tamil king Raja Raja Cholan, within the compound of the over one-thousand years old Thanjai Big Temple (that he built); we are not asking for the installation of the statue inside the temple but only within the temple compound where tourists would see it [Reference 1].
There is a pattern of Indian Government ignoring or "hiding" Tamil history and culture in its projects while highlighting the culture and history of Hindi region. Indian government projects Indian history as the north-Hindi regional history in its history books, and projects the north-Hindi regional culture as Indian culture wherever it can. A summary of some of these activities may be found in Reference 2.
1. Why is King Raja Raja Cholan Standing outside the Thanjai Big Temple? (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, April 2001 (16 KB)
2. Health of the Tamil language: A French Perspective (by Nathalie Dedella), TAMIL TRIBUNE, May 2004 (17 KB)
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