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Understanding Kural in Tamil Literature



  Mar 11, 2024

Understanding Kural in Tamil Literature



In Tamil literature, a kural is a form of short, rhythmic couplet or verse. Each kural consists of exactly seven words, known in Tamil as “cirs”, arranged within two lines. The structure is tightly bound, with the first line containing four words and the second line three. This concise form is renowned for its ability to convey profound, ethical, moral, and philosophical ideas within a very limited lexical space.

Thiruvalluvar’s Tirukkural, often just referred to as the Kural, is the most celebrated example of this literary form. Comprising 1,330 kurals, the text is divided into three main sections: Aram (virtue), Porul (wealth or polity), and Inbam (love), offering guidance and wisdom on various aspects of life. Despite its ancient origins, the Tirukkural remains a cornerstone of Tamil culture and literature, revered for its universal insights into human nature and ethics.

The kural’s enduring appeal lies in its versatility and depth, where each couplet stands on its own, delivering a complete thought or principle that spans the spectrum of human experience and governance. Thiruvalluvar’s work, through the medium of the kural, has influenced not just Tamil literature, but also the philosophical and moral outlook of generations.


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