COIMBATORE: Following the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s decision last year to celebrate Tamil poet-philosopher Thiruvalluvar’s birth anniversary in schools, the University Grants Commission has directed colleges and universities to organise essay competitions, seminars and debates on the life and works of the sage.
“I would like to draw your attention to the philosophy of celebrated Tamil poet and philosopher Thiruvalluvar, whose most remarkable contribution to Tamil literature is his work of ethics entitled Thirukkural. The text is considered one of the most revered among ancient Tamil works particularly because of its insightful commentary on human morals and betterment in life,” UGC Secretary Jaspal S Sandhu said in a letter sent on Monday to vice chancellors of universities across the country.
“I am sure Thiruvalluvar’s rich message will liberate teachers and students from the stress of confrontational relationships and equip them with social relationship skills and attitudes to succeed,” he said.
“The UGC has been advocating value-based approach to higher education in view of the multifarious benefits it imparts to students. Value-based education creates a strong learning environment that enhances academic attainment and develops students’ social and relationship skills that last throughout their lives. India has a rich tradition of education that is founded on universal values of liberty, equality and fraternity,” he added.
Sandhu also asked the vice chancellors to send action-taken reports to the UGC.
Welcoming the move, S M Ravichandran, former head of Bharathiar University’s Tamil Department, said it was encouraging that the UGC was giving importance to regional identity and recognising poets like Thiruvalluvar.
“The majority of present-day students are not aware of Thiruvalluvar or Vivekanandar. They do not attend literary meeting and are not interested in knowing about their works. The UGC’s initiative will increase interest among students about poets and literary works and also create social awareness,” he added. In November last year, BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Tarun Vijay had demanded Tiruvalluvar’s birth anniversary be observed in schools and his teachings introduced to students. Accepting his demand, Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani announced that Thiruvalluvar’s birth anniversary would be celebrated in schools.