Need to inculcate moral values by teaching  Tirukkural, says High Court

“The need of the hour is to introduce moral values through teaching Tirukkural to the students in order to create a more tolerant and harmonious society”, observed the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court.

A Division Bench of Justices R. Mahadevan and J. Sathya Narayana Prasad observed that Tirukkural, a noble scripture written by the great Tamil Saint Tiruvalluvar, emphasises moral values and ethical codes that are indispensable for people in their private as well as public lives.The Madurai bench on Monday directed the state government to strictly implement the order to include 108 chapters (adhigarams) of Tirukkural (Arathupal and Porutpal) in the curriculum of students from Classes 6 to 12.

P Ramkumar, a visually challenged person, in his public interest litigation petition sought the government to include the 108 chapters of Tirukkural and strictly instruct teachers to teach the chapters to the students for the purpose of final examination by incorporating questions from Tirukkural.

The petitioner, earlier preferred a writ petition seeking a direction to the respondents to take immediate action to bring out Braille version of Tirukkural in Tamil and English languages with standard interpretation, so that the visually impaired persons could read, recite and enjoy the essence of Tirukkural on their own.

Even though orders were passed earlier to teach all the 1,050 couplets of Tirukkural as mandatory subject in the school curriculum from Classes 6 to 12, it was not properly implemented by the respondent authorities. Hence, the representations dated September 23 and 26 in 2022 and a reminder were also sent on October 12 to the government requesting to include Tirukkural chapters in the school curriculum. But, none of the representations yielded any positive response.

A division bench of Justices R Mahadevan and J Sathya Narayana Prasad in its order said it’s no doubt true that Tirukkural is an invaluable source of knowledge, wisdom and practical guidance on leading an ethical and meaningful life. It’s beyond all religions and is ever applicable. The Tirukural was translated into many languages and is widely read and studied in schools and universities around the world. It’s an excellent choice for inclusion in school academic books due to its timeless messages and relevance to modern times.

According to the principles enshrined in the Constitution, it is the duty of the state to promote social order, education, preserve equality, protect women, children and promote social justice, public health and standard of living. Therefore, this court opined that Tirukkural alone has all that takes the younger generation in righteous path. Further, the court directed the government to complete the process strictly in accordance with the order dated April 26, 2016, within a period of three months and file a report before this court.

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