Jun 16, 2011

Aacharya Devo Bhava (Consider your teacher as God)

Chinnu loves "amma inge vaa vaa".  I learnt the song for him and I got to understand that it is in "Aathisoodi" form.  And remembered reading "pudiya aathisoodi" in Bharathiyar kavithaigal and also remembered Avvaiyaar's aathisoodi.  I still can not correlate why such compositions are termed "aathisoodi" but it was a sad fact that I learnt what an aathisoodi is at a very later stage, not when I first got to learn Avvaiyaar's.  This is not the only thing.  Did you ever know that Valluvar's first name is not Valluvar?  And nobody knows what it is...same is the case of Tholkaappiyar.  

I think we had probability and statistics in our syllabus from class 8.  I pretty well remember that I did not quite understand what a 'standard deviation' is until a few years later, perhaps I only learnt the formula from the sessions and books.  There was a time I detested the very thinking of "History" and was waiting to get rid of the subject; but today it is one of my favourite areas;  There are many many things to cite as examples like these....

While I do not want to point my finger at someone for the delayed learning I honestly and vehemently feel that teachers do play a part in this.  They spend more time with the children than anybody else and they have the responsibility and the opportunity to mould someone into a better person in all aspects. Today's teachers do not think beyond the books and syllabus and do not impart the 'basic' knowledge that one needs to get.  First of all, no one wants to take up the profession; everybody wants to plunge into software and become Crorepati's in a few years and settle down abroad.  A few of my classmates who are teachers today were forced to these jobs by external factors; they did not take the profession out of passion.  "Aacharya Devo Bhava" says an upanishad (Philosophical texts from the Hindu religion).  Where do we find such Godly teachers?


  1. Aathichudi is preceded by a 'kadavul vaazhthu'

    Aathichudi amarnda devanai
    ethi ethi thozhuvom naame

    I remember reading somewhere that aathi is a flower worn by pillayar .
    Chhodi means 'wearing'; so it refers to pillayaar

    similarly konrai vendan is preceded by a hymn to shiva
    konrai is another flower

    all this indicates a lot..

    one of the first things a child learns is letters of an alphabet..what better way to learn than learn it along with some maxims to imbibe lifelong values....that was the purpose of bharathiar's aathi chudi as well.

    so different from what i call ; 'disaster rhymes' like “london bridge falling down” “all fall down ' when the bough breaks the cradle will fall” “jack fell down and broke his crown” and so on and so on.

  2. Interesting fact, Major Sir. I did not know about "Aathi" flower. And I liked your "disaster rhymes" :)).

  3. Nice post manni..very true statements...I have felt this many times and mainly when i think of history which was made a boring subject in the class rooms..I would also contribute to the education system which did not expect the students to understand it to the core or correlate it to what they see.

    btw, nice info by major sir!! I like it very much!!

  4. @ guruprasath.. I am glad you like it.I am trying to compile such stuff. thanks to project madurai and such sites

  5. Major, I do have a question - Why does Tamil not have different phonetic letters such as ka, kha, ga, gha etc? And why do we have 2 types of Na-kaaram? Have you ever researched in these lines?

  6. Krishna, I do agree with you, our education system needs a complete revamp.

  7. @ Sh... Why tamil does not have .... some features ? the question comes up only when compared to some other languages. tamil itself never felt the need for these sounds till other languages like english and hindi were spoken among tamils. till today people like srilankan tamils do not miss these sounds . மணிக்கூடு பழுதாகி விட்டது . ஆனால் திருத்தி கொள்ளலாம் . (வாட்ச் ரிப்பேர் ஆயிடுத்து. ரிப்பேர் பண்ணிக்கலாம் )regarding different types of na-karam, I don't want to defend anything..There are some lexical rules for formation of words. Tolkappiyam describes such rules. Some examples: a word cannot end in certain consonants, and cannot begin with some consonants including 'r' 'l' and 'll'; there are two consonants for the dental 'n' - which one should be used depends on whether the 'n' occurs at the start of the word and on the letters around it

  8. Major, my question is Tamil a complete language without these different sounds? I took some time to think of few words that I can cite as examples here but I at this moment could not think of anything. (but sometimes I have felt the need - may be I am ignorant of something that existed or is existing) When I say தயங்கி I pronounce as thayangi and when I say தயக்கம் I pronounce as thayakkam. it is either k or g but not both, I have always found that I pronounce it right ( I mean as how everybody says) but dont have a reasoning for it.

    Thanks for reminding me of that na-karam rule. I do remember having read that while at school. But my question was what was the need for 2 na-karams? Why cant it be one and use it anywhere in the word and make things easy?