397-Multiple Languages

National Integration Through Thirukkural And Sanskrit

Multiple languages

A cat delivered a kitten and was living happily with it. One day, a dog saw both of them and it started to chase them. Sensing danger to their lives, both the cat and its kitten started running. They were raising the ‘Meow Meow’ alarm as they were running. The dog with loud barks of ‘Bow Vow’ was chasing them from behind. At one stage, the cat could not run further and stopped. It started wondering why it was running away from the dog, for no rhyme or reason. It thought it should put an end to it. It paused for a while, turned at the dog and mimicked the dog’s bark. The dog never expected this and was taken aback by this act. It got frightened and started running back. Now it was the turn of the cat to chase the dog and it chased it away. The cat returned back with a sigh of relief, looked at the kitten and said, “To live in this world,  it is always better to learn additional languages, other than your mother tongue”.

Moral of the Story

It always helps to acquaint one with multiple languages as it enables one to understand and appreciate diverse phenomenon in this world. It is particularly relevant in the modern days of globalization where there is enormous movement of workforce from one region to another, both within and outside the country.

Thiruvalluvar in his couplet 397 advises learning of multiple languages of the world. When it can be seen that, the learned people feel at home wherever they go, one wonders why people choose to remain ignorant throughout their life.

யாதானும் நாடாமால் ஊராமால் என்னொருவன் 
சாம்துணையும் கல்லாத வாறு 

Yaadhaanum Naadaa-maal Ooraa-maal Enn-oruvan
Saam-thunaiyum Kallaadha Vaaru

பரிமேலழகர் உரை:

யாதானும் நாடுஆம் ஊர்ஆம் – கற்றவனுக்குத் தன்னாடும் தன்னூருமேயன்றி, யாதானும் ஒரு நாடும் நாடாம், யாதானும் ஓர் ஊரும் ஊர் ஆம்; ஒருவன் சாம் துணையும் கல்லாதவாறு என் – இங்ஙனமாயின், ஒருவன் தான் இறக்கும் அளவும் கல்லாது கழிகின்றது என் கருதி? (உயிரோடு சேறலின், ‘சாம்துணையும்’ என்றார். பிறர் நாடுகளும் ஊர்களும் தம்போல உற்றுப் பொருட்கொடையும் பூசையும் உவந்து செய்தற்கு ஏதுவாகலின் கல்வி போலச் சிறந்தது பிறிதில்லை, அதனையே எப்பொழுதும் செய்க என்பதாம்.).

Sanskrit Translation by Shri S.N. Srirama Desikan

ஸர்வே தே³ஸா²: ஸமே க்³ராமா: ஸ்வீயா: ஸ்யுர்விது³ஷாம் பு⁴வி |
ததா² ஸதி குத: கைஸ்²சித் வித்³யா நாதீ⁴யதே ஸதா³ ||