Remembering Subramania Bharathi

CHENNAI: A poet, writer, wanderer, mystic, nationalist and freedom fighter of Madras presidency Mahakavi Subramania Bharathi, who awakened the freedom spirit of Indians through his writings turns 140 today living in the hearts of millions.

Bharathi was born on 11.12.1882 in Tirunelveli of Madras presidency, he completed his primary education in Tirunelveli and reached Kasi for higher studies. A staunch believer of the Hindu philosophy and respecting other religions he read Vedas & classic epics and started writing at an early age.

His poems on freedom were read by masses across Madras presidency urging them to make revolutionary deeds. Some of his works were banned by the British government which made him live in exile in Pondicherry, a French territory. There he devoted his time writing spiritual writings like Kannan Paatu, Panchali Sabapatham and Bhagavad Gita translation into Tamil. He had even written poems on Jesus and Allah.

Those who seek freedom, will they seek anything else at all?! Those who desire the nectar of heaven, will they hanker after country liquor?

Bharathi is a polyglot symbolising multilingualism that characterizes India. He knew 32 languages including 3 foreign languages. Despite producing excellent works in French and English he loved to be a Tamil poet and journalist. His writings covered political ( Indian Independence movement), social (women and marginalized empowerment) and spiritual themes.

As a voracious reader, he was greatly influenced by Romantic Age poets which were reflected in his works. He named himself Shelly Dasan (Shelly admirer) on some of his works. The poems were a powerful overflow of thoughts in simple language with a lucid structure that can be understood even by a layman. This revolution came when Tamil language stuck with pandits.

“Gold is her colour, lightning her bearing – the immortal maiden is Nappinnai, Kannan’s beloved.”

He wrote plays, essays, short stories other than poems. His works marked the beginning of modern Tamil literature. The rage of the scorching sun, the tenderness of a wobbling flower, the warmth of the brotherhood, the kindness of mother India and nature, the direness of self-respect and swaraj flow through his writings.

He died before Indian independence at a very young age without reaching 40. But his visionary poem “Aaduvome pallu paaduvome aanantha swathanthiram adainthivittom enru” (Let us dance, let us sing songs rejoicing that we were independent) was an incorporeal declaration of Indian Independence. It was sung at every independence day visualising the dream of an enigma.

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