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K169 and K170 of CANTO XVII of the THIRUK-KURAL with Translations and Commentary

K169 and K170 of CANTO XVII of the THIRUK-KURAL with Translations and Commentary [If one could put together all that has been said, written and published on the Thiruk-Kural and on its progenitor Thiru-Valluvar, it could easily, I'd wager, exceed the volumes of the heftiest encyclopaedias, and yet one gets the feeling nothing really new, enlightening or elucidating appears to be added to our knowledge of the subject every time a new book of translation or criticism or academic research surfaces. Recently, I was asked to edit the papers in English contributed to yet another major conference on the book in India, and I must admit some few showed remarkable ability in their scholarship, but the callousness and avidity – and even downright trickery - of the organiser I was in touch with make me wonder if there can be any virtue in getting together savants in the language for yet another effort to propagate the greatness of the author when the wisdom couched in the maxims is quite evidently overlooked. Each contributor - as well as the organizing body - appears to be imbued with the idea of being elevated high above their humdrum or lofty status merely by pronouncing on some aspect of pet notions on either the book or its author or both. The real worth of the book's aims seems to be ignored. Or else it is nonchalantly taken for granted. I couldn't help detecting the role of vanity and self-arrogation to a rather high degree in a certain number of those concerned. But then, even "great minds" over the ages kept making statements on the book which seem to shed "greater light" on their own egos and on their own level of sagacity than on the specificity of Thiru-Valluvar's expositions on the motivations, say, of human behaviour at large, such as, the observations by the author on the topic of this chapter. Everybody seems to take for granted the unchanging nature of the polity as delineated by Thiru-Valluvar in Book Two on "Wealth" (Artha/Porudpaal), and the dalliances of flirtatious feelings and emotions in the questionable invariability of mores in Book Three on "Love" (Kama or Inbam) par rapport of succeeding ages. Even the inviolable tenets and principles of Book One on "Virtue" have over the ages undergone much wear and tear to make them less than wholly viable these days, so much so that the book cries out for re-evaluation, though the only constant factor in Thiruk-Kural studies is the personality of the author, himself. No one can, even if they wanted to, dispute his literary genius. As an admiring student of the book, myself (I certainly am no expert in the language of the Kural nor of Tamil literature at large), I have put myself to some pains through study of the works of experts in the field to demonstrate the complexity and archi-difficulty in composing the Thiruk-Kural and this in several sites devoted to poetry on the Internet. As such, I do hope the leaders of the Tamil intelligentsia and their political backers would not parade their emotions in conference after conference for the sake of the so-called greater glory of Tamil populations all over the world, but would rather deploy their efforts in the strict exegesis of the text itself. Much work needs to be undertaken in this regard in times to come, and it will serve to fence in and circumvent organisers of conferences who are determined petty peddlars of their own image and glory. And it might also turn out that the book's true value may lie elsewhere than in the predictable consequences of posturing academic practices.] T. Wignesan, June 6, 2017 K169: avviya neñcatthaan aakkamum cevviyaan keedum ninaikkap padum To men of envious heart, when comes increase of joy, Or loss to blameless men, the 'why' will thoughtful hearts employ. (Transl. G.U. Pope) The wealth of a man of envious mind and the poverty of an upright man will be pondered. (Transl. Drew & Lazarus) The envious-minded person's wealth and the sorry plight of those who know no envy - just think on this! (Transl. T. Wignesan) K170: alukkartru akanraalum illai ahthillaar perukkatthil thiirtthaarum il No envious men to large and full felicity attain; No men from envy free have failed a sure increase to gain. (Transl. G.U. Pope) Never have the envious become great, never have those who are free from envy been without greatness. (Transl. Drew & Lazarus) No envious person has attained to greatness, nor have those who envy not fallen from grace. (Transl. T. Wignesan) © T. Wignesan - Paris, 2017

Copyright © | Year Posted 2017




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