Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi says missionaries have ‘despiritualized’ Tirukkural
Governor of Tamil Nadu, RN Ravi, on Thursday claimed that missionaries under British rule in India had presented a despiritualized English version of the Tamil classic “Tirukkural”, written by scholar Thiruvalluvar, and described the great work as an epic holding the wisdom of eternal spirituality.
Tirukkural is not only a code of ethics and morality but also an epic holding the wisdom of eternal spirituality, he said after unveiling a statue of Thiruvalluvar at DTEA Secondary School, Lodhi Estate, in the nation’s capital.
Also known as a kural, the Tirukkural consists of 1,330 couplets.
Hailing Thiruvalluvar who gave the world Tirukkural, the “fountain of wisdom”, the governor highlighted the richness and beauty of the Tamil language, the oldest language.
“The great sage Thiruvalluvar was one of the brightest suns in the galaxy of ancient sages. The ‘Aadhi Bhagavan’ quoted in the first kural ‘Aadhi Bhagavan’ is found in all Indian languages,” Ravi said.
The concept of Aadhi Bhagavan is also in the Rig Veda and it is central to Indian spirituality. “It is far from ‘Primal Deity’ as translated by colonial apologists,” the Governor said.
He explained how the British commissioned the East India Company to evangelize India and how missionaries like GU Pope, who first translated Tirukkural into English, presented a de-spiritualized version. “The translation was done with the colonial objective of trivializing India’s spiritual wisdom,” Ravi said.
“The British tried to destroy India’s great spirituality by distorting Indian history and culture and colonizing people’s minds,” he said.
The Tamil language and its literature has yielded profound and timeless works such as Tholkappiam, Silapathikaram, Manimeghalai, Purananooru and several others. The author of Tholkappiam introduced the book to Atankot Acharya who was a profound scholar of the four Vedas.
“Tamil Siddhar Tirumoolar’s Thirumanthiram, which is around 3,000 BCE, tells all about spirituality and yoga,” the Governor said.
A statement by Raj Bhavan in Chennai said Ravi urged youths and scholars to shun the colonial interpretation of these priceless books and have a moving reading of these scriptures and experience their true essence.
He admired the Tamil culture of giving books when one meets and wished it would be followed nationwide.
The Governor congratulated DTEA for the service rendered to society and wished them to continue their good work to achieve more.
Earlier, the school students recited Tirukkural. Ravi awarded prizes to six deserving students on this occasion.