1 rupee saint Thiruvalluvar World Tamil conference
St. Thiruvalluvar, the author of THIRUKKURAL was born about 30 years before Jesus Christ in Mylapore, the village of peacocks (Myl in Tamil means peacock), the present day Chennai, at a time when the Tamil Land was rich in culture, vivid in its life and adventurous in its commerce. Valluvars were the priests of outcaste people at that time. Tamilians take cognizance of the birth of Thiruvalluvar as a basis of Tamil calendar according to which we are now in the year 2032 of Thiruvalluvar Aandu (Year). Thirukkural is regarded as a renowned work, eulogized as a directory of code of conduct and ethics to humanity. The revered poet not only deals with the general administration, but also codified clear-cut directions to the mankind on how they should behave and act in a social, political, religious and family circles.
Thiruvalluvar used to keep by his side, when he sat for meals, a needle and a small cup filled with water. Once, his host asked him as to why he insisted on having these two placed by the side of the plate. He said, "Food should not be wasted, even a grain is precious. Sometimes, stray grains of cooked rice or stray pieces of cooked vegetables fall off the plate or away from it. While I eat, I lift them off the floor, with the help of this needle and stir them in the water to clean them and eat them." What a great lesson this is for those who waste more, than they consume in today’s consumerist society!
As Emmons White has said, Thiruvalluvar was a kindly, liberal-minded man and his poetry is a kind of synthesis of the best moral teachings of his age. In the words of Dr. John Lazarus who has made an English translation of the Kural, “It is refreshing to think of a nation which produced so great a man and so unique a work. The morality he preached could not have grown except on an essentially moral soil.” This classical work in Tamil has been widely translated in over 60 languages of the world. Nearly 300 years ago, the Italian Jesuit missionary, Constantius Beschi (known as Veeramamunnivar in Tamil) who came to Tamil Nadu in 1710, translated the Thirukkural into Latin. Rev. G U Pope who hailed Thiruvalluvar as “the Bard of Universal Man” translated the Kural and printed the it first in English. Many European missionaries have made translations into English between 1820 and 1886. Freedom fighters and statesmen, C Rajagopalachari and VVS Iyer have also translated the Kural into English. Barring perhaps the Bible and the Koran, the Kural is the most translated work.
Erudite Tamil Poets as well as the kings of the three Tamil Kingdoms – Chera, Chola and Pandya – acknowledged the literary greatness of Thirukkural. It is said that at the time of its first presentation to the king’s court, the Pandyan king wanted its greatness to be known to his whole kingdom. He put it to test by placing the manuscript along with those of other contemporary works in a golden lotus plank and allowed it to float in the tank at the Madurai Meenakshi temple. The sanctified plank that would recognize only the masterpieces is said to have rejected all other works and retained only the Thirukkural.
People in Tamil Nadu worship Thiruvalluvar as a guru. They have erected a beautiful shrine to him and to his wife in the midst of a garden in Mylapore. It lies not far from the waves of the sea that are often referred to in his verses. Every year in the month of April, people celebrate a grand festival at the shrine. Another important memorial to the immortal saint is Valluvar Kottam in Chennai, which is shaped like a temple chariot. A life size statue of Thiruvalluvar has been installed in the tall chariot. The 133 chapters of his work have been depicted in bas-relief in the front hall corridors of the chariot. The auditorium at Valluvarkottam is said to be the largest in Asia with accommodation capacity for 4000 people. Recently, Tamil Nadu government has erected a magnificent 133-foot height statue of the saint denoting the 133 chapters in Thirukkural for tourists in the midst of sea in Kaniyakumari (Cape Comerin) at the confluence of the three seas.
While being sworn in as the president of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam said that a country needs to have the characteristics as enshrined in Thirukkural and quoted from the Kural: “ Pini inmai Selvam Vilaivinbam Emam, aniyenba Nattirku vainthu”. That is “The important elements that constitute a nation are: being disease free; wealth; high productivity; harmonious living and strong defence.” It makes deep sense in this fast-moving world. If only there is more forbearance and patience, mutual respect and understanding, the world would become a better place for all of us to live.
One rupee, 2004
Metal: stainless steel
Obverse: lion pedestal, "satyamev jayate"
Reverse: denomination, date and grain ears
One rupee, 1988
Obverse: lion pedestal, seven sided surrounding
Reverse: denomination,date and grain ears
The above coin is small farmers Calcutta mint, which is a scarce to rare item in Republic India. This coin is also one of the number of commemorative coins that were minted around or just succeeding the green revolution in India. Through this coin, the government acknowledges the important contribution of the small farmers to India's foodgrain produce. The green revolution was what caused India to move from being a food deficit nation to a food surplus. A large share of the country's farms are not large scale, but small scale and manual labour done is more than the overall work done through large machines. That is, the work done is mostly labour intensive. Simply put, the contribution of the small farmers to the produce cannot be overlooked.