Meet Tamil poet who was quoted in Sitharaman's speech

Meet Tamil poet-saint who was quoted in Sitharaman's speech

Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her budget speech, referred to a folk couplet while talking about farmers' issues. 

While she was talking about the 16 action points in the Agriculture sector, she quoted a Tamil woman-Saint poet Auvaiyar - Sangam Era "Aathichoodi" verse 81, which was roughly translated to "One must first tend one's land and then eat. One must eat only after work."

In Tamil literature, several women were referred to as Avvaiyar through different periods. The word Avvai is used for old women who are devoted to God.

According to the linguists, there were three avvais - one from Sangam-age Avvaiyar, another from Chola-age Avvaiyar, and the third one belonging to contemporary times. 

The poet whose name was mentioned in Nirmala Sitharaman's speech was Sangam-age Avvaiyar. She authored various aphorisms as a guide to the moral life. They are taught to children as an introduction to poetry and are recited by school kids even in Tamil Nadu even today.

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