Review

My affectionate friend Mr.Fernando known as Thangai, has penned a book which reflects the multi-dimensional universal values of Thiruvalluvar in the form of ten short stories. Short stanzas of Thirukkural are more meaningful in their message and wisdom. Valluvar had given unique importance to the cardinal principles of ethics, economy and love in his celebrated work Thirukkural. The contents of the Thirukkural deal in depth all the issues related to humanity across the world.
To interpret and attempt to portray valluvam is a very difficult task for even eminent scholars. Mr.Thangai’s passion for knowledge emboldened him o write stories by interlinking and intertwining the appealing message of selected Thirukkural . Thangai has traveled more or less all the nations of the world and ascertained the different values and different lives of the people of different continents.
The eminent scholars of the world have given noble explanations on Thirukkural. and its immortal contents. Thirukkural has been translated into all the major languages of the world.
Though many scholars of international eminence interpreted and explained some of the couplets of Thirukkural, G.U.Pope, a great scholar and Christian missionary was the first one who translated all 1330 Kurals into English in the 19th century and upheld the universal wisdom of the Thirukkural.
He had stated that no translation could convey an idea of its charming effects; it is truly an apple of gold in a network of silver. G.U.Pope had also pronounced that literary niceties found in the Thirukkural could be seen only in Epigram-in-Martial in Greek language and Elegiac verse of Latin, the classical languages of the world.
To read, to understand and to interpret Thirukkural is a pleasurable and a challenging task for the erudite scholars. Thangai has lucidly adopted thoughtful style and chosen appealing message of selected couplets of Thirukkural for his stories. “As a sandy fount yield more water every time you dig, so does knowledge grow, the more you read, the deeper”, as stated by Valluvar.
Mr.Thangai’s understanding of Thirukkural instilled in him a confidence to create stories . The innovative work by Thangai is no doubt a milestone in the long literary history of Tamils. He has written the stories with literary flavor and with historical facts based on his immense experience. The work is enlightening the Tamil audience at large. I commend the work of Thangai and recommend to Tamils all over the world to buy the book and appreciate the sincere efforts of Mr.Thangai. I wish him success in all his literary endeavors.

M Naganathan

Prof Dr M.Naganathan,M.A.,M.L.,Ph.D.,D.Litt.

Former Vice-Chairman State Planning Commission Government of Tamil Nadu , Professor and Head (Retd.) Department of Economics University of Madras.

I really enjoyed this book because it was just not entertaining but informative too. Especially the select Thirukkral phrases to match the articles most closely and accurately – not excessively long enough but long enough to tell the story.
Another great aspect of this book is to narrate important historic events/incidents with accuracy of facts and figures ( from world wars till the recent 9/11 attacks ).
One small suggestion there could have been a tirukkural about bravery and linguistic affinity which portrays capt Prabakaran’s role and the contribution of Singai Tamils in enhancing tamil Language to great heights and global recognition.

Overall I found this book to be very well thought and well written.

Dr Jayanthimala Suresh

Chairman Estilo , Navo Dubai, President Dubai Tamil Sangam

It was a pleasure for me to go through the first draft of a book written by my good friend Mr. Dasnavis Fernando which is titled ‘UlagamSuttriyaThiruvalluvar’ (‘Thiruvalluvar Tours the World’). I find it to be quite different from what usually is written on the subject. This book is, especially interesting in the sense that it doesn’t appear to be homogenous while it is totally homogenous.
I think Fernando has succeeded in bringing into focus different intriguing elements from different parts of the world, or different parts of a town, or a state, or a country. And then ultimately, the kural which he gives in the final page of each chapter informs us, how beautifully, what appears to be disparate elements are united under a single Thirukural. In the first chapter, he starts talking about building up a ‘vallam’, what you can call as prototype of ship though small in size, which provides an idea about the ship’s future, final appearance, the construction of which the Tamils have excelled in the past.
He goes through explaining a journey in ‘vallam’ and how there’s a crisis and how the people come up with their own solution. This particularly talks about the value of education. The education brings together the father, the son, and the people of the area. All brought together to ensure the ‘vallam’ reaches its destination. Similarly, when he talks about the World War II in the 2nd chapter, he starts by going through the cruelty of Second World War, and goes on to inform how Japan became one of the forces of Axis powers, and finally when the time came the powerful sects of Japan – the ruling elite – didn’t agree for a truce, the Emperor of the nation rose single-handedly, and for him nothing mattered more than the welfare of his people. Thus ends the chapter with an appropriate kural.
“முறைசெய்துகாப்பாற்றும்மன்னவன்மக்கட்கு
இறையென்றுவைக்கப்படும்”
“The king who does good things to his people will be kept at par with god himself”
The third chapter goes on about aero planes, the Wright brothers, and eventually talks about the horrible 9/11, and offers a small effective message, “வாள்எடுத்தவன்வாளால்சாவான்” (”the one who takes up a sword will be killed by the same”).
In the fourth chapter, he talks about the Swiss government and its people, and the combination of their population percentage. One wonders what he is going to arrive at; he also talks about the Indian who discovered zero, and ultimately he says,
”எண்ணென்பஏனைஎழுத்தென்பஇவ்விரண்டும்
கண்ணென்பவாழும்உயிர்க்கு”
How the Swiss have they have remained very firm about their mother tongue, and that love for mother tongue has actually led them to reach greater heights, in achieving credible success in both language and numbers. And the fifth chapter talks about Mahabharath, particularly how Bhisma met with his failure, eventually saying, all this happened primarily because of great force, namely Mother.
The sixth chapter is most important, titled ‘Pandian Express’. In this, he goes into delicate, beautiful aspects of love; how such innocent love can be destroyed by unwanted anti-social forces and in the process, he also brings into focus one of the beautiful ‘kurals’ in ‘Inbathupaal’, the third part of Thirukural.
The seventh one talks about the reddened soil, the soil that has turned bloody due to avarice and greed of the so-called educated people who travel to countries like Yemen, and African nations and bring upon the natives the unimaginable sufferings. He finally concludes with a solution: love for others is the solution to avert all such atrocities.
The eighth is again about the African nations’ history of sorrow due to Europeans’ greed for natural resources. Where there is wealth, but not a good governance people are bound to suffer; and where there is little wealth, but better governance people are certainly prospering. We only have to look at Japan. With no great natural resources, but where the governance is good the discipline is inherently built, and therefore they reach greater heights. The system in America which doesn’t allow the President of the nation to rule for more than two terms is juxtaposed with the system in Africa where leaders aged more than 70 with no great empathy or sympathy for their poor continue to rule.
The ninth chapter is very interesting because the author again brings into focus how the world has shrunk into one single mobile phone. He starts with Solomon, he goes to Dronacharya, and he comes to the present state of TN colleges and brings forth a significant point that the education in mother tongue is important to start with. He ends with values and importance of education, quoting another beautiful kural,
“தொட்டனைத்தூறும்மணற்கேணிமாந்தர்க்குக்
கற்றனைத்தூறும்அறிவு”
The fifth chapter which is interestingly titled as ‘White House’ is not about the Presidential palace of US President. It’s about Taj Mahal, the symbol of eternal love, and he shows what a great love it was. In the present world, he speaks of how the unwanted element of dowry can bring untold trouble to a love marriage which can be effectively torpedoed by the love itself. Love’s greatness is thus beautifully expressed.
I congratulate my friend Fernando for having written this book to bring into focus the value and ubiquitous relevance of kural for our present days by going through gamut of stories across the globe. There of course are few structural changes need to be made to make it perfect, but Mr. Fernando has already assured me that this is just a first draft and the final draft will be a perfect one. My congratulations and best wishes to him..

G.Balachandhran

IAS(R)