Thiruvalluvar (Tamil: திருவள்ளுவர்), commonly known as Valluvar, was a celebrated Tamil poet and philosopher. He is best known as the author of the Tirukkuṟaḷ, a collection of couplets on ethics, political and economical matters, and love. The text is considered an exceptional and widely cherished work of the Tamil literature.Almost no authentic information is available about Valluvar, states Kamil Zvelebil – a scholar of Tamil literature.
His life and likely background are variously inferred from his literary works by different biographers. There are unauthentic hagiographic and legendary accounts of Valluvar’s life, and all major Indian religions, as well as Christian missionaries of the 19th century, have tried to claim him as secretly inspired (crypto-) or originally belonging to their tradition.
Little is known with certainty about his family background, religious affiliation, or birthplace.
He is believed to have lived at least in the town of Mylapore (a neighbourhood of the present-day Chennai), and his floruit is dated variously from 4th century BCE to early 5th century CE, based on the traditional accounts and the linguistic analyses of his writings.
Maraimalai Adigal gives 31 BCE as the birth year of Valluvar, while Kamil Zvelebil infers the Tirukkuṟaḷ and Valluvar are best dated to around 500 CE.
Valluvar has influenced a wide range of scholars down the ages since his time across the ethical, social, political, economical, religious, philosophical, and spiritual spheres. He has long been venerated as a great sage, and his literary works a classic of Tamil culture.