Divided by language and culture, united by love for Tirukkural

Published - August 26, 2016 06:26 am IST - Chennai:

IN ONE VOICE: Students of Sri R. M. Jain Group of Schools in V.M. Nagar in Tiruvallur recite the Tirukkural during the morning prayer session.

IN ONE VOICE: Students of Sri R. M. Jain Group of Schools in V.M. Nagar in Tiruvallur recite the Tirukkural during the morning prayer session.

It’s 8.25 a.m. one Tuesday. Class III student S. Sundar, a Nepalese by origin, waits for his fellow countrymate, friend and classmate, S. Anish, and seniors Kushwanth, a Class VIII Marwari student, Arpan Dubey, a Bengali and Sushanth, who speaks Marathi, to attend their morning prayers on the sprawling campus of Sri R.M. Jain Group of Schools in V.M. Nagar in Tiruvallur.

Although separated by language and culture, what unites them is the recitation of the Tirukkural, a classic Tamil work dating back to the early Christian era. It is their everyday ritual but this Tuesday, will be special as it marks the 200th day of the recitation of Tirukkural by more than 2,000 students, including 350 non-Tamil students of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) affiliated school.

“Though we find the recitation a little tough, our teachers help us in understanding its concepts and importance. So, we enjoy the exercise during the prayer session,” says Vikas Viswakarma, a Class XI student of Nepalese origin.

It was during random oral tests in class that N.C. Sridharan, correspondent of the school, found that his students, including the Tamil-speaking students, were unable to recite even one couplet from Tirukkural that has lessons for every aspect of life.

So this April 21, he, along with a team of 25 teachers from the school’s department of Tamil, decided to include a few couplets from the Tirukkural during the morning prayer sessions. All parents were receptive to the idea. In fact, more than 600 students brought individual copies of the Tirukkural for the recitation.

‘Promotes ethics, values’

“Such recitation helps students to memorise difficult concepts. It also helps to inculcate in them ethics and values,” Vaani Arivaalan, Department of Tamil Language, University of Madras, told The Hindu .

At the spacious 12,000 sq.ft prayer hall, students (from Class I to XII) recite five couplets every morning for 10 minutes.

Of the five, one couplet is replaced with a new one every three days.

With 200 days of recitation completed without any hitch, the students are now aiming to enter the Guinness Book of World of Records.

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