You may have noticed that the student-favourite statue of Thiruvalluvar has been somewhat accessorised recently. That’s because the SOAS Tamil Society celebrated Pongal, the Tamil Harvest Festival, on 16 January with Tamil music, Tamil food and Kollam drawing.
Pongal coincides with Thiruvalluvar Day. Did you know that the charming green statue outside of our building, contrary to popular belief, is not a Buddhist holy man but Sage Thiruvalluvar, the Tamil poet who is considered a “Universal Veda” on Humanity?
The Harvest season is celebrated by giving thanks to the Sun, the land, the cows and farmers who toil all year round.
Thiruvalluvar was a poet and a philosopher who wrote Thirukkural, a collection of writings on ethics and morality. The book, written sometime between the third and first centuries BCE, is considered the most important work in the Tamil language and a significant literary contribution to both Indian and world literature. This work is also called as the ‘Words that never fail’, the ‘Divine text’ and the ‘Tamil Veda’.
SOAS was pleased to welcome Mr A.S Rajan, Minister of Coordination from the Indian High Commission, together with various other groups from the Tamil community, including the World Tamil Organisation (UK).
SOAS’ statue of Thiruvalluvar was given to the School twenty years ago. As well as being very important to SOAS’ friends in the Tamil community, the statue has somewhat of an iconic status with the School’s students and has appeared in many Graduation photos over the years.