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Thirukural-Right Forethought-(Public Administration)-Kural 469

Nanraatra lullum thavarundu avaravar
Panparindhu aatraak kadai.

If the nature and needs of beneficiaries concerned are not taken into account,
Even in doing good, one may fall into error.

This is a very sound advice for administrators in public service, considering the angle of modern public relations in a Welfare State.

Many leaders, in politics and administration, make their own decisions on what they consider is good for the people, and thrust it down their throats. And, when it is not only not accepted, but resented by the public, they are surprised.

One of the first things, that public administrators have to learn about 'public relations" is that they should painstakingly assess what the people of a particular locality want, and give it to them promptly and properly, and also tell them in acceptable terms, that they are being given just what they wanted, which is the two-way traffic constituting 'P.R."

In every step taken in doing good things for the public, therefore, besides the dimensions of need, time, and place, the important dimension of acceptance should also satisfied. This will happen only if 'performance" of public servants is according to people"s 'expectations".

I, therefore, consider that in this kural, Valluvar has enunciated a very important principle of public administration, particularly in a democratic Welfare state.

Incidentally it is the dimension of acceptance by the beneficiaries that constitutes the essential difference between 'efficiency" and 'effectiveness" in management. This is a modern management (public administration) concept, but one is surprised at the ease with which Valluvar has propounded it.

Right Forethought

In Thirukural,'Right Forethought' has been discussed from different angle by Thiruvalluvar. Kural 469 contains suggestions for public administration.


Thirukural is an ethical treatise belonging to Tamil classical literature, written by Thiruvalluvar. Ramanandha Adigalar Foundation has made it available to a larger reading mass with its English translation. Read Thirukural in English.

Story first published: Thursday, September 30, 2010, 12:30 [IST]
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