Old Tamil Poetry

Translations of Tamil Poetic works that span 2000 years

Naaladiyaar – 133

Wise men consider salt from saline lands
valuable than paddy from fertile lands;
scholars, even if they are born in low lands,
are placed above those from higher lands.

களர் நிலத்துப் பிறந்த உப்பினைச் சான்றோர்
விளை நிலத்து நெல்லின் விழுமிதாக் கொள்வர்;-
கடை நிலத்தோர் ஆயினும், கற்று அறிந்தோரைத்
தலை நிலத்து வைக்கப்படும்.

This Naaladiyaar poem talks about the value of education. Salt was a precious commodity in those days and wise men valued it much more than paddy sown in fertile lands. Similarly, an educated man, even if he is from lower strata of society, will be placed above those born in higher rungs of society.

Literal meaning: கடை நிலத்து – low lands, தலை நிலத்து – high lands. Thi. Su. Balasundaram Pillai in his commentary interprets it as those born in lower and higher caste respectively.

களர் – saline land
விழுமியம் – value

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4 thoughts on “Naaladiyaar – 133

  1. Nice verse and nice translation.

    Like

  2. I sense a dash of municipal patriotism.

    Like

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