Bharathi's Birthday Today
Chinnaswami Subramanya Bharathi (Tamil: சின்னசுவாமி சுப்பிரமணிய பாரதி) (December 11, 1882 – September 11, 1921) was a Tamil writer, poet, journalist, Indian independence activist and social reformer from Tamil Nadu, India. Popularly known as Mahakavi Bharathiyar (Tamil: மகாகவி பாரதியார்), he is a pioneer of modern Tamil poetry.
Born in Ettayapuram in 1882, Subramanya Bharathi studied in Tinnevely and worked as a journalist with many newspapers, notable among them being the Swadesamitran and India. Bharathi was also an active member of the Indian National Congress. In 1908, an arrest warrant was issued against Bharathi by the government of British India for his revolutionary activities forcing him to flee to Pondicherry where he lived until 1918.
Bharathi is considered to be one of the greatest Tamil poets of the modern era. Most of his works were on religious, political and social themes. Songs penned by Bharathi have been widely used in Tamil films and Carnatic Music concert platforms.
Bharathi on Feminism
Bharathiyar advocated greater rights for women. His verses called Prem for women and put a premium on their education. He visualised a modern Indian woman at the vanguard of society. He was of the strong opinion that the world will prosper in knowledge and intellect if both men and women are deemed equal.
Poetic extract - (The new age women will learn many intellectual texts. They will set the base for many scientific discoveries that facilitate human life. They will expunge all backward superstitions in the society. They will, all the same, be devoted to God and present all achievements of mankind as a tribute to God. They will earn good name from men.)
Bharathi also fought against the caste system in Hindu society. Although born into an orthodox Brahmin family, he gave up his own caste identity. He considered all living beings as equal and to illustrate this he even performed upanayanam to a young harijan man and made him a Brahmin. He also scorned the divisive tendencies being imparted into the younger generations by their elderly tutors during his time. He openly criticised the preachers for mixing their individual thoughts while teaching the Vedas and the Gita.
சாதிகள் இல்லையடி பாப்பா!-குலத் தாழ்ச்சி உயர்ச்சி சொல்லல் பாவம்; நீதி உயர்ந்த மதி,கல்வி-அன்பு நிறை உடையவர்கள் மேலோர்.
(There is no caste system. It is a sin to divide people on caste basis. The ones who are really of a superior class are the ones excelling in being just, intelligent, educated and loving.)
Later years and death
He was badly affected by the imprisonments and by 1920, when a General Amnesty Order finally removed restrictions on his movements, Bharathi was already struggling. He was struck by an elephant at Parthasarathy temple, Triplicane, Chennai, whom he used to feed regularly. Although he survived the incident, a few months later his health deteriorated and he died on September 11, 1921 early morning around 1 am. Though Bharathi was a people's poet and a great nationalist, outstanding freedom fighter and social visionary, it is a recorded sad fact that there were only 14 people to attend his funeral.
he delivered his last speech at Karungalpalayam Library in Erode, which was about the topic Man is Immortal.
Some poems by Bharathi
Praying to Mother Godess!
Should all my wishes be fulfilled
Should I wish only that is good!
Should I possess a heart that is strong
So should I acquire a knowledge devoid of doubts
All my sins
like the mist before the sun
In your graceful presence
disappear should all they be! O! Mother!
Made a good Veena, will I throw it for waste?
Please tell me oh goddess siva sakthi – you have created me with this bright wisdom.
Will you give me strength, to live my life useful to this world?
Oh Goddess please tell me, or will you let me become a burden to this earth on which I stand upon.
Please give me a body which can sing in praise of you even when it is hurt with burnt.
Give me a faultless mind, and a life that will light up every day.
I asked for a steady confidence, and do you have any objection in granting me this.
Sources: wikipedia and google