The Thirukkural is an ancient book of ethics written by Thiruvalluvar in South India. Consisting of 1330 couplets it is divided into three section giving guidelines on life, love and statesmanship.
The term depicted in the painting - Aran - or valour is the title for the ten songs which speak on the subject of valour. The ten couplets which form the background text describes the importance of valour and righteousness. The fractured sword behind shows that justice, though important is not always easy to implement.