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

Single Post Navigation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: