This particular illustration however got flak not just for how it depicted Thiruvalluvar, but also for what it said about his wife Vasuki.

Vaasuki serving food for Thiruvalluvar
news Controversy Saturday, February 20, 2021 - 19:33

An illustration of saint-poet Thiruvalluvar in Class 8 Hindi textbook in Chennai designed by Macmillan publications has created a political controversy in Tamil Nadu. In the  textbook, Thiruvalluvar, the poet who gave the world the Tirukkural, is depicted wearing saffron robes, with holy ash smeared on his forehead and his arms, a single knotted hair lock at the centre of his head. The poet is also seen wearing rudraksha on beads on his neck and arms

For the people of Tamil Nadu, the image of Thiruvalluvar involves the poet clad in white robes without any visible religious marks on his forehead or jewellery on his body. On Friday, Tamil writer Umanath Vizhyan took to his social media account and said, “This is the depiction of Thiruvalluvar in Class 8 CBSE Hindi textbook.”
 

படத்தில் காணப்படும் நபர் திருவள்ளுவர் என்கின்றது எட்டாம் வகுப்பு CBSE புத்தகம். McMillan publishers. அந்த பாடத்தின் கருப்பொருளும்.. சரி விடுங்க.

Posted by Umanath Selvan on Friday, 19 February 2021

 

Following this, the illustration received flak from leaders and people alike.

DMK president MK Stalin said, “In one of the Class 8 textbooks, Thiruvallur has been given Aryan disguise. The BJP government is allowing this; the AIADMK government is also watching this. Tamil Nadu will not accept the Aryan gimmick in Tamil culture; DMK will not be patient. Warning!”
 

This is not the first time that Thiruvalluvar has been depicted in such a manner, in what has been criticised as an attempt to saffronise the poet. In 2019, the BJP Tamil Nadu’s official Twitter handle posted a tweet with Thiruvalluvar in orange robes and holy ash smeared on his forehead.

This particular illustration however got flak not just for how it depicted Thiruvalluvar, but also for what it said about his wife Vasuki. The picture shows Vasuki serving food for a young Thiruvalluvar and asks children if they know about the wife. The accompanying text says, "Thiruvalluvar was a world-famous Tamil-speaking poet and philosopher. Thiruvalluvar's wife's name was Vasuki. She was a woman who grew up in  the domestic ways of a Tamil family.  She would always obey her husband and would work day and night in his work and service. Vasuki performed her duty all his life,” said the text.  
 
Many have slammed the text that eulogises her as just a wife who did her duties. Former TN Education Minister Thangam Thenarasu from DMK asked, “Is he Vasuki’s husband?”

வாசுகியோட புருஷனாடா இது?! #vaasuki_kaa_prashna

Posted by Thangam Thenarasu on Friday, 19 February 2021

 

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