Thiruvalluvar, also known as Valluvar, was a renowned Tamil poet, philosopher, ethicist, management strategist, humanist, and rationalist. He was born in the southeastern state of India called Tamil Nadu approximately 2050 years ago. His famous book is Thirukkural, also known as the Kural. The Kural is a literary masterpiece of verses with poetic excellence, a treasure trove of knowledge based on rational, secular, analytical, practical, and worldly outlook molded in the norms of virtue, aesthetics, kindness, hospitality, sociability, munificence, service, etc., cemented in family life. Since the Kural was printed in 1812, it has been translated into more than hundred languages of the world and there are more than hundred translations in English alone.
The Kural is one of the most widely translated non-religious works in the world. Many scholars and philosophers including noble laureate Dr. Albert Sweitzer, the great German scholar Dr. Graul, the great French Savant M. Ariel, the Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, and Mahatma Gandhi have admired Valluvar's profound and pragmatic view of human life and the practical guidelines he has offered for a purposeful life in his remarkable magnum opus, the Kural.
Mahatma Gandhi used Valluvar’s concept of nonviolence in his fight for civil rights for the Indians in South Africa and also in his fight for India’s independence. The overarching and pervasive theme of the entire book is virtue. Valluvar emphasizes virtue in all facets of personal, professional, and social life. Valluvar defines virtue as having a mind without blemishes like envy, greed, and anger. He claims that if one has no blemishes in his mind, then there will be no violence in his words and deeds. Valluvar concludes that violence in the minds of people is responsible for all the violence in the world. This assertion made by Valluvar almost two thousand years before the formation of UNESCO is identical to the preamble of UNESCO, which states, "Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed." He is in agreement with eleven of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015 by UNESCO and offers constructive solutions to achieve those goals. Valluvar’s immortal words of wisdom are universally applicable. Rev. Dr. G. U. Pope who translated the Kural into English, calls Valluvar “the bard of universal man.” Valluvar has gained worldwide recognition and in his honor, monuments have been erected in India, the UK, the USA, Mauritius, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Denmark, Reunion Island, and other countries.