Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Thirukkural – 114

Was one fair or unfair will be known
by the legacy one leaves behind.

தக்கார் தகவு இலர் என்பது அவர் அவர்
எச்சத்தால் காணப்படும்.

This Kural is under the chapter நடுவுநிலைமை – Impartiality / Neutrality. In this couplet Valluvar says whether one has been fair or unfair will be known by what he leaves behind. The word எச்சம் means ‘remainder / balance’.

Parimel Alagar and Devaneya Paavaanar interpret it as ‘progeny / children’ and read the Kural as “whether one was fair or unfair will be known by the qualities of his children”. Dr. Mu.Va. on the other hand interprets it as fame or infamy. In that case the Kural will be read as “whether one was fair or unfair will be known by his fame or infamy after his death”

I couldn’t decide either way and felt as if Valluvar was laughing at us across 2 milleniums with his ambiguous choice of words. I settled on legacy which can be read either way, as ambiguous as the original.

தக்கார் தகவில ரென்ப தவரவ
ரெச்சத்தாற் காணப் படும்.

தக்கார் – தகுதி மிக்கவர் – qualified / just person
தகவு – Quality
இலர் – இல்லாதவர் – without
எச்சம் – Balace / remainder / left over

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One thought on “Thirukkural – 114

  1. ராதாவின் செல்வன் on said:

    குறளைப் பகிர்வதில் மகிழ்ச்சியே!!
    குறள் வெண்பாவின் இலக்கணம் பிறழாது அச்சிடப்பட்டக் குறளைப் பகிர்வீர்களேயாயின், மேலும் மகிழ்ச்சி!!
    (முதலடி நாற்சீர்; இரண்டாமடி முச்சீர்)


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