Economic Survey draws from wealth of ideas in Tirukkural

Verses from Porutpaal quoted to support creation of wealth

Published - February 01, 2020 01:27 am IST - CHENNAI

The Economic Survey has found an ally in Tirukkural, regarded as a repository of philosophical wealth, to justify the emphasis on wealth creation.

In two chapters of the Volume I of the survey, five verses of the classic work, authored by Tamil saint-poet Tiruvalluvar, have been quoted. Kautilya’s Arthasastra too has been used. Those who drafted the survey had pointed out how Tirukkural advocated wealth creation through “ethical means.”

The broad message of the survey is that the country had a “rich tradition” of emphasising the creation of material wealth.

M. Rajendran, former Vice-Chancellor of the Tamil University, doubts the appropriateness of relying on Tirukkural to address contemporary issues concerning acquisition of assets.

“When Tiruvalluvar had lived, the concept of property possession and rights, as understood now, was not there,” he says, wondering whether the section Porutpaal , from which many verses had been quoted, should, fundamentally, be understood as one that dealt with material wealth, given the historical context of the time in which the saint-poet was said to have lived. But N.R. Bhanumurthy, professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, feels the appropriateness of Tiruvalluvar can be drawn, not from literal meaning of the text, but from the essence of the verses.

In President’s address

In addition to the Economic Survey, Tirukkural was quoted by President Ram Nath Kovind in his customary address to the joint sitting of two Houses of Parliament earlier in the day.

He rendered a verse from the chapter on farming to drive home the importance of agriculturists.

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