State of Maryland declares Thirukkural Week

[TamilNet, Thursday, 07 July 2005, 10:53 GMT]
A three day international conference on Thirukkural, a 2000 year old literary and ethical treatise of Tamils starts on 8 July Friday at Smith Auditorium, Howard Community College, Columbia Maryland in USA. Professor George Hart, a well known Tamil scholar who holds the position of The Tamil Chair at the University of California Berkeley, will be one of the keynote speakers, organizers said. State of Maryland has issued a proclamation declaring 8-10 July as a "Thirukkural Conference Week."

Thirukkural, a secular work that has gained widespread acceptance as the Gospel of the Tamils, has been translated to several languages.

Kural ConferenceThe Maryland conference is being sponsored by expatriate Tamil organizations in the U.S. and the proceedings will be in English and in Tamil, organizers said.

Several Tamil scholars from South India are expected to address the conference.

The objectives of the conference are, "to understand how Thirukkural can be a guide to humanity, to create and promote awareness of Thirukkural in USA among Americans and the youth of Indian origin and to compare Thiruvalluvar with other philosophers of the world," the conference leaflet said.

The real name of the author of Thirukkural is not known as with many ancient Tamil classics. Thirukkural is attributed to Thiruvalluvar as Tholkappiyam is attributed to Tholkappiyar. The prefix Thiru, means 'sacred' and the word 'Kural' means a 'pithy couplet'.

The 1330 couplets of Thirukkural are divided into 133 chapters of 10 couplets each and grouped into three sections, Ahathuppal or Justice, which contains lessons on dharma and morals, Porutpal or material aspects, which contains teachings on man's duties and guildance to the right way to lead one's material life, and Inbathuppal or section on love, which teaches about love.

Though Thirukkural was written nearly two millennia ago, it is understandable to modern speakers of the Tamil language.

The language, which existed in the South India and Sri Lanka, before Sanskrit was spread throughout North India, is said to be the oldest and the least subjected to Sanskrit influence among the languages in the Dravidian language family.

Tamil, after almost 120 years of lobbying by Tamil scholars and political leaders in Tamil Nadu, was declared Classical language of India by the Government of India in September 2004.

Tamil is an official language in the state of Tamil Nadu in India, Sri Lanka and Singapore.


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External Links:
US:  International Thirukkural Conference
Wikipedia: Thirukkural
TamilNation: Thirukkural of Thiruvalluvar
N.V.K Ashraf: An introduction to Thirukkural and its author

 

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