Subramaniya Bharathi the Poet of Tamil Nationalism & Indian Freedom "He who writes poetry is not a poet. He whose poetry has become his life, and who has made his life his poetry - it is he who is a poet." - Bharathy Mahakavi Subramaniya Bharathi was born on 11 December 1882 in Ettiyapuram in Tamil Nadu. Bharathi died on 11 September 1921. In a relatively short life span of 39 years, Bharathi left an indelible mark as the poet of Tamil nationalism and Indian freedom. Bharathi's mother died in 1887 and two years later, his father also died. At the age of 11, in 1893 his prowess as a poet was recognised and he was accorded the title of 'bharathi'. He was a student at Nellai Hindu School and in 1897 he married Sellamal. Thererafter, from 1898 to 1902, he lived in Kasi. Bharathi worked as a school teacher and as a journal editor at various times in his life. As a Tamil poet he ranked with Ilanko, Thiruvalluvar and Kamban. His writings gave new life to the Tamil language - and to Tamil national consciousness. He involved himself actively in the Indian freedom struggle. It is sometimes said of Bharathi that he was first an Indian and then a Tamil. Perhaps, it would be more correct to say that he was a Tamil and because he was a Tamil he was also an Indian. For him it was not either or but both - it was not possible for him to be one without also being the other. Bharathi often referred to Tamil as his 'mother'. At the sametime, he was fluent in many languages including Bengali, Hindi, Sanskrit, Kuuch, and English and frequently translated works from other languages into Tamil. His யாமறிந்த மொழிகளிலே தமிழ்மொழி போல் இனிதாவது எங்கும் காணோம் (among all the languages we know, we do not see anywhere, any as sweet as Tamil) was his moving tribute to his mother tongue. That many a Tamil web site carries the words of that song on its home page in cyber space today is a reflection of the hold that those words continue to have on Tamil minds and Tamil hearts. His
செந்தமிழ் நாடெனும் போதினிலே - இன்பத் தேன்வந்து பாயுது காதினிலே was Bharathi's salute to the Tamil nation and many a Tamil child has learnt and memorised those moving words from a very young age - and I count myself as one of them. Bharathi was a Hindu. But his spirituality was not limited. He sang to the Hindu deities, and at the same time he wrote songs of devotion to Jesus Christ and Allah. Bharathi was a vigorous campaigner against casteism. He wrote in 'Vande Matharam' : ஜாதி மதங்களைப் பாரோம் - உயர் ஜன்மம்இத் தேசத்தில் எய்தின ராயின் வேதிய ராயினும் ஒன்றே -
அன்றி வேறு குலத்தின ராயினும் ஒன்றே We shall not look at caste or religion, All human beings in this land - whether they be those who preach the vedas or who belong to other castes - are one. Bharathi lived during an eventful period of Indian history. Gandhi, Tilak, Aurobindo and V.V.S.Aiyar were his contemporaries. He involved himself with passion in the Indian freedom struggle. His 'Viduthalai, Viduthalai' was not only a clarion call for freedom from alien rule but also addressed the need to unite a people across caste barriers - விடுதலை! விடுதலை! விடுதலை! பறைய ருக்கும் இங்கு தீயர் புலைய ருக்கும் விடுதலை பரவ ரோடு குறவருக்கும் மறவ ருக்கும் விடுதலை!
திறமை கொண்டதீமை யற்ற
தொழில் புரங்ந்து யாவரும் தேர்ந்த கல்வி ஞானம் எய்தி வாழ்வம் இந்த நாட்டிலே.
He saw a great India. He saw a
n India of skilled workers and an educated people. He saw an India where women would be free. His பாருக்குள்ளே நல்ல நாடு - எங்கள் பாரத நாடு expressed the depth of his love and the breadth of his vision for India. Bharathi served as Assistant Editor of the Swadeshamitran in 1904.He participated in the 1906 All India Congress meeting in Calcutta (chaired by Dadabhai Naoroji) where the demand for 'Swaraj' was raised for the first time. Bharathi supported the demand wholeheartedly and found himself in the militant wing of the Indian National Congress together with Tilak and Aurobindo. Aurobindo writing on...
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