Advocate P Sanjai Gandhi appreciates “AVVAIYAR”talk by His Lordship Hon’ble Justice Thiru.M.M Sundresh. I had the opportunity to listen to the Zoom Meeting, in which Hon’ble Thiru justice M.M.Sundresh gave a speech on AVVAIYAR, an ancient Tamil poet (30.10.2020).

Advocate P Sanjai Gandhi appreciates “AVVAIYAR”talk by His Lordship Hon’ble Justice Thiru.M.M Sundresh.
I had the opportunity to listen to the Zoom Meeting, in which Hon’ble Thiru justice M.M.Sundresh gave a speech on AVVAIYAR, an ancient Tamil poet (30.10.2020).
The zoom meeting was organized by Advocate.J.Ravindran. The speech of the distinguished judge was very informative and lucid, particularly, since it related to AVVAIYAR, and has great value for our society.
We have great pleasure in giving an extract of the speech delivered.
While many speeches by various personalities have revolved around Ramayana, Mahabharatha and various other Indian epics, the speaker realized that speaking about Avvaiyar is not only patronizing Avvaiyar but it also contains the rich Tamil literature which has been considerably neglected in the modern days. He noted that our greatest disadvantage is that we don’t analyze and know about ourselves. We accept what others say about us but we don’t introspect ourselves and our history. Thus as Tamilians it becomes inevitable for us to know about Avvaiyar and the multiple facets of her poems and writings.
A decade ago, ancient Tamil literature was included in the education curriculum thus imparting the richness of Tamil language to the growing generation. Nowadays, only materials related to the language are included in the syllabus and such Tamil literary works are omitted and this limits the chances of children to know and grow in Tamil Heritage. Though various other languages are taught to the present generation, it is important to have the knowledge of various languages but it becomes necessary to know our own history and the importance of Tamil language. Tamil scriptures have descriptions relating to Avvaiyar and adhiyaman, Avvai and Paari and Avvai and Thondaiman.
The speaker concentrated mainly on the works produced by Avvai who existed during the Sangam Age. The word ‘avvaiyar’ means ‘intelligent, wise, respectable woman appreciated by the society’. Historians say that Avvaiyar’s father was Bagavan and her mother was Adhi. Avvaiar must have existed 1000 to 1500 years ago because the songs and poems are this much old. In general parlance, when we think of Avvaiyar we remember Aathichoodi and an old woman with a stick. Justice M. M. Sundresh finds Avvaiyar’s works to be of three categories during the Sangam Age namely, Aathichoodi (Aathi- A kurinji tree Choodi- To garland), Konraivendhan ( Konrai- A Mullai tree Konraivendhan- lord muruga) and Moothurai (Tamil Wisdon).
The ideology inscribed in Thirukkural in two lines by Thiruvalluvar has been told in one line in Aathichoodi by Avvaiyar. அறம் செய விரும்பு- Have desire to do good deeds; ஆறுவது சினம்- Anger should be reduced / controlled; இயல்வது கரவேல்- Help to your best possible extent; ஈவது விலக்கேல்- Don’t stop doing charity; உடையது விளம்பேல்- Do not boast about your possession; ஊக்கமது கைவிடேல்- Do not give up hope/self-confidence; The speaker quoted the verses of Aathichoodi and explained how Avvaiyar’s poems concentrated on keeping up Aram or Righteousness. While Kulothunga Chola was announced as the heir to Rajendra Chola, many poets were invited. At that time Avvaiyar advised Kulothunga Cholan to preserve and increase the water levels in the kingdom because as water increases, agriculture increases. As agriculture increases, livelihood of people will increase. As standard of living increases, taxes will be paid correctly and thus the administration becomes efficient and only then the administrator will get a place in history. Avvaiyar talks about family saying that there is no match to mother’s food because it is not just food but mixture of love and affection. A father is the one who shows the world to the children. And as much as talented the children are, that much wealthy are the parents. ‘கொடியது கேட்கின் நெடியவெல் வேலோய்! கொடிது கொடிது வறுமை கொடிது..அதனினும் கொடிது இளமையில் வறுமை..அதனினும் கொடிது ஆற்றொணாத் தொழுநோய்..அதனினும் கொடிது அன்பிலாப் பெண்டிர்’ In these lines Avvaiyar efficiently portrays the difficulties faced by a common man in the society.
The simple language skills used by Avvaiyar makes the songs and poems known not only to the sangam Age but even today. The way ancient Tamil kings patronized Avvaiyar and Tamil language show how well the ancient societies were tuned to Aram. The societal imbalances faced in today’s scenario in the family, workplace, community and in fields of justice can find solutions in the ancient literary wors of Avvaiyar and thus Justice M. M. Sundaresh concluded by saying that bringing back the society into Aram or righteaousness by imparting ancient Tamil literature and Avvaiyar works will be an efficient solution to many contemporary societal problems.

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