T.E.S. Raghavan, 92, says Tirukkural couplets should be written with their meaning not only in buses but also in airplanes and trains.
“A life is not lived, and is wasted, if one has not read Tirukkural,” said Mr. Raghavan, who won the Sahitya Akademi award for 2020 for his translation of Tirukkural into Hindi.
He is well-versed in Tamil, Sanskrit and Hindi. “I studied the Tamil vidwan course at Madras University, Siromani in Sanskrit and MA Hindi at Mysore University. As Tamil is my mother tongue, I had a natural interest in Tirukkural,” said Mr. Raghavan, who worked as a Tamil and Hindi teacher at the Hindu High School at Triplicane before joining Shree Mangichand Bhandari Jain Higher Secondary School at T. Nagar.
There are Tirukkural translations in Hindi, but what sets Mr. Raghavan’s work apart is its poetic rendition. “I have followed ‘kural venba’ — four words in the first line and three in the second — even in Hindi.”
He first published the Hindi translation in 1990 and a new edition came out recently.
“One should read and listen to kural day and night. It is common for people of all religions,” said Mr. Raghavan, whose work was appreciated by late Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and late President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
Mr. Raghavan, who has also translated the Daya Sathakam, Mukundamala, Bhaja Govindam and other Sanskrit works in Hindi, explained that he had not translated Nalayira Divya Prabandham because the work had already been done by some.