The poet and philosopher Thiruvalluvar is considered a cultural icon in Tamils. His most popular work is Thirukkushan, which is basically a collection of couplets on politics, morality, economy and love. To honor his contribution, Tamils celebrate Thiruvalluvar Day on 15 or 16 January as a part of Pongal celebrations. Earlier in the 1930s, Thiruvalluvar Day was celebrated either on May 17 or May 18, but in recent years, it is celebrated in January. And this year it is being celebrated on 15th January.
Who was Thiruvalluvar?
Apart from his work, not much is known about Thiruvalluvar’s life. People have speculated about it, largely by deducing his work Thirukkural and other Tamil texts. There are many accounts available about Thiruvalluvar but no information is available about his family background, religious affiliation or place of birth.
It is believed that he lived in the city of Mylapore, which is a neighborhood of present-day Chennai. In the early 16th century, a temple was built within the Ekambaresvara temple complex at Mylapore and was dedicated to Thiruvalluvar. Hence, locals believe that he was born in Mylapore, under a tree located within the temple complex.
Not only this, another temple-monument named Valluvar Kotam was built in Chennai in 1976. It has one of the largest auditoriums in Asia and also houses a 133 ft tall statue of Thiruvalluvar in Kanyakumari.
The last statue of the Tamil poet was unveiled in 2009 at Ulsoor near Bengaluru.
Although the period in which he existed is also a matter of debate, some claim that he lived between the 8th and 9th centuries. Tamil speaker, writer, and the father of the Pure Tamil movement, Maraimalai Adigal reported 31 BC as Thiruvalluvar’s birth year, while Kamil Jvelebil, a Czech scholar in Indian literature and linguistics, mentioned that Valluvar was around 500 AD. used to live.
Thiruvalluvar’s famous work
Thiruvalluvar’s primary work is Thirukkural, which consists of 1330 couplets (Kurals). These Kurals are divided into 133 sections of 10 couplets each, and further, the text is divided into three parts – Dharma, Artha and Kama’s teachings on Artha, Virtue, Wealth and Love.