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Who is Kaniyan Poongundranar? What made him famous?

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Who is Kaniyan Poongundranar? What made him famous?

Hailing from a humble background in Sivagangai, Kaniyan Poongundranar made his way to the United Nations, European Union, and several meetings organized by institutions of international repute with his two popular philosophies in the poems he composed- Purananuru and Natrinai.

Who is Kaniyan Poongundranar? What made him famous?

Kaniyan Poongundranar is an inspiring philosopher born and raised at Mahibalanpatti in Sivagangai. With ‘Kaniyan (கணியன்)’ before his name which refers to Mathematics in Tamil, we can infer that he would have been a Kala Kanithar, an astronomer and a mathematician dealing with date, time and place.

In his 3000-year old work on Purananuru which talks about the way of order and natural laws, he makes a strong call for unity in mankind. It is in this poem that he quotes Yaadhum Oore Yaavarum Kelir – யாதும் ஊரே! யாவரும் கேளிர்!

What is the meaning of Yaadhum Oore Yaavarum Kelir – யாதும் ஊரே! யாவரும் கேளிர்?

It means that nature and its unwritten laws will continue to function and take its course just like a wooden log moves in the direction of water when put in a river. Through this, the author Kaniyan Poongundranar states that all people in this world irrespective of caste, creed, community or country should be bound by universal oneness and more importantly, a single legal and moral code of conduct.

In the beginning of this poem, he says that because everyone in this world is related by one way or the other (கேளிர்), all people should be given equal rights and similar values. In the following parts that says ‘தீதும் நன்றும் பிறர்தர வாரா’ ‘Theethum nandrum Pirarthara vaara’, he says good and evil are a result of one’s own deeds and do not come from others activities or intentions.

He compares life to a piece of wooden log left in water, and says that it carries no meaning when we compare and glorify accomplished people and demean others. Every human being is bound to take a similar course and journey irrespective of their social esteem.

How do leaders quote ‘Yaadhum Oore Yaavarum Kelir’ ?

The fact that this continues to hold a great relevance and influence even today after 3000 years testifies the greatness of Kaniyan Poongundranar and his works, particularly Purananuru. ‘Yaadhum Oore Yaavarum Kelir’ was quoted by Indian leaders at several occasions, more so, whenever they emphasize unification of mankind beyond boundaries. The Hon’ble Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his recent speech at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly called for oneness with the quote. He flaunted his pride and Indianness when he said that this sense of oneness, belonging and unity beyond borders is very special and unique to India. He also said that this isn’t anything new but has been there in poems and practice since ages unknown.

This is not the first time that ‘Yaadhum Oore Yaavarum Kelir’ made it to the UNGA. Previously in 1966, G. Ponnambalam, a Ceylon Tamil lawyer and Politician quoted this during his speech at 21st session of the UNGA. Earlier, our Hon’ble president, APJ Abdul Kalam has quoted ‘Yaadhum Oore Yaavarum Kelir’ and Kaniyan Poongundranar during his historical speech in the European Parliament amidst the leaders of the European Union. This was also a theme song of the 10th World Tamil Conference that happened in Chicago.

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Comment (1)

  1. canadian

    Amazing loads of useful advice.

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