Today Bharathiyar's Birthday (11 December),
Best of the Best from Bharathi
Praying the Mother Godess!
eNNiya muTithal vENTum
nallavE eNNal vENTum
thiNNiya nenjcham vENTum
theLintha nallaRivu vENTum
paNNiya pAva mellAm
parithimun paniyE pOla
naNNiya ninmun ingku
nasiththiTal vENTum annaay!
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
disapper should all they be! O! Mother!
About Subramanya Bharathi
Courtsey:Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Subramania Bharati 1882-1921
Alternate name(s): Bharatiyar
Date of birth: December 11, 1882(1882-12-11)
Place of birth: Ettayapuram, Madras Presidency, [India]
Date of death: September 11, 1921 (aged 38)
Place of death: Madras, [India]]
Movement: Indian independence movement
Subramania Bharati (Tamil: சுப்பிரமணிய பாரதி) (December 11, 1882 - September 11, 1921) was a Tamil poet from Tamil Nadu, India, independence fighter and reformer. Known as Mahakavi Bharati (the laudatory epithet Maha Kavi meaning Great Poet in Tamil), he is celebrated as one of India's greatest poets. Bharati was prolific and adept in both the prose and poetry forms, and his rousing compositions helped rally the masses to support the Indian independence movement in South India. Bharati lived during an eventful period of Indian history; his contemporaries included other prominent leaders of the Indian independence movement such as Mahatma Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Sri Aurobindo and V.V.S.Aiyar.
The house in Ettayapuram where Bharati was bornBharati was born to Chinnasami Subramania Iyer and Lakshmi Ammaal on December 11, 1882 in the Tamil village of Ettayapuram. Bharati was educated at a local high school called "The M.D.T.Hindu College". He learnt music from very young age and at 11 was invited to a conference of Ettayapuram court poets and musicians for composing poems and songs. It was here that he was conferred the title of "Bharathi" (Goddess of learning). Bharati lost his mother at the age of 5 and his father at the age of 16. He married his cousin Chellamal in 1897, at the age of fourteen. After an early marriage, Bharati, curious to see the outside world, left for Benares in 1898. The next four years of his life served as a passage of discovery, when Bharathi discovered a country in tumult outside his small hamlet. Bharati worked as a school teacher in Madurai Sethupathy High School (Now a Higher Secondary School) and as a journal editor at various times in his life.
During his stay in Benares, also known as Kashi and Varanasi, Bharati was exposed to Hindu spirituality and nationalism. Bharati's enquiring mind began to see beyond the social taboo superstition that held sway amidst the orthodox South Indians. In December 1905, he attended the All India Congress Session held in Benaras. On his way back he met Sister Nivedita, Vivekananda?s spiritual daughter, and came under her spell. From her arose another of Bharati?s iconoclasm, his stand to recognise the privileges of women. The emancipation of women exercised Bharati?s mind greatly. He visualised the ?new woman? as an emanation of Shakti, a willing helpmate of man to build a new earth through co-operative endeavour. 
During this period, Bharati Understood the need to be well-informed of the world outside and took avid interest in the world of journalism and the print media of the West. Bharati joined as Assistant Editor of the Swadeshamitran, a Tamil daily in 1904. By April 1907, he had started and along with M.P.T. Acharya, edited the Tamil weekly India and the English newspaper Bala Bharatham.
These papers not only served the purpose of enlightening the masses on the affairs of the nation and the world outside, but also were a means of expressing Bharathi's creativity, which began to peak during this period. Bharathi started to publish his poems regularly in these editions. From complex religious hymns to rousing nationalist anthems, from contemplations on the relationship between God and Man to songs on the Russian and French revolutions, Bharati's subjects were truly diverse.
He was simultaneously up against personal and social poverty, society for its mistreatment of the downtrodden people, and the British for occupying India. Though he lived a life of abject poverty, he was always positive.
Bharathi participated in the historic Surat Congress in 1907, which deepend the divisions within the Indian National Congress between the militant wing led by Tilak and Aurobindo and the 'moderates'. Subramania Bharati supported Tilak and Aurobindo together with V. O. Chidambaram Pillai and Kanchi Varathaachariyar. Tilak openly supported armed resistance against the British.
Bharati immersed himself in writing and in political activity. In Madras, in 1908, he organised a public meeting to celebrate Swaraj (independence) Day'. His nationalistic poems Vanthe Matharam, Enthayum Thayum, Jaya Bharath were printed and distributed free to the audience. He is rightly referred to as the National Poet of India.
Exile in Pondicherry
In 1908, he gave evidence in the case which had been instituted by the British against V.O. Chidambaram Pillai. In the same year, the proprietor of the 'India' was arrested in Madras. Faced with the prospect of arrest, Bharati escaped to Pondicherry which was under French rule.
From there Bharati edited and published the weekly journal India, Vijaya, a Tamil daily, Bala Bharatha, an English monthly, and Suryothayam a local weekly of Pondicherry. The British tried to suppress Bharathi's output by stopping remittances and letters to the papers. Both India and Vijaya were banned in British India in 1909.
During his exile, Bharati had the opportunity to mix with many other leaders of the militant wing of the Independence movement such as Aurobindo, Lajpat Rai and V.V.S. Aiyar, who had also sought asylum under the French. Bharathi met with Aurobindo in Pondicherry and the discussions often turned to religion and philosophy. He assisted Aurobindo in the Arya journal and later Karma Yogi in Pondicherry. Bharathy met with Mahatma Gandhi in 1919 in Rajaji's home.
Bharathi entered British India near Cuddalore in November 1918 and was promptly arrested. He was imprisoned in the Central prison in Cuddalore in custody for three weeks - from 20 November to 14 December. In Kashi he met a sikh and he was inspired to change his attire and started wearing turban.
Bharati had an exceptional love and devotion towards his mother tongue Tamil language, which he considered as the sweetest of all the languages known to him. He has written in one of his poems, 'Of all the languages I know, I have not heard a sweeter language than Tamil' (யாமறிந்த மொழிகளிலே தமிழ்மொழி போல் இனிதாவது எங்கும் காணோம்). He was fluent in many languages including Bengali, Hindi, Sanskrit, Kutchi, French and English and frequently translated works from other languages into Tamil. He had a voracious appetite for learning ancient and contemporary Tamil literature and derived astonishing insights from the ancient poems. He emphasized that musicians should not sing songs which they don't understand and should learn from Hindustani musicians how to train their voices. He was not a simple propagandist poet, however noble his patriotic and humanist sentiments were. He was also a seeker of beauty and philosophic wisdom. As a national poet, as a poet with a universal vision and as a poet of beauty and truth, he is comparable to some of the great poets of the world. Hence his claim to a lofty place in the great galaxy of world poetry.
A number of his creations are about nature. Both Bharati and Shelley were soaring spirits and loved the sparrow and the skylark respectively as symbols of freedom. But Bharathi is not content with the mindless joy of the sparrow; he wants to fly in the sky like a bird so that he can see the endless hills, springs, rivers and the sea. But the human body does not give him full freedom and he also recognizes that the very growth of human civilization is a hindrance to experiencing the bliss of the bird. But he never wants to surrender his humanity. He is alive to the fact that in the world of the bird, there is no intellectual joy of man. Whereas Shelley is unwilling to return to the earth because of its sadness (our sincerest laughter with some pain is fraught), Bharathi?s sparrow asks man to give up not life but desire. Bharathi?s poetry is not an escape from but into life. 
Bharathi is considered a nationalistic poet due to his number of poems of the patriotic flavour through which he extolled the people to join the Independence struggle. He wrote "The glorious Himalayas are ours and there is none to compare with it on this earth?The good river Ganges is our river and there is no river to rival its goodness?
விடுதலை! விடுதலை! விடுதலை! பறைய ருக்கும் இங்கு தீயர் புலைய ருக்கும் விடுதலை பரவ ரோடு குறவருக்கும் மறவ ருக்கும் விடுதலை! திறமை கொண்டதீமை யற்ற தொழில் புரிந்து யாவரும் தேர்ந்த கல்வி ஞானம் எய்தி வாழ்வம் இந்த நாட்டிலே.
Instead of merely being proud of his country he also outlined his vision for a free India. He wrote 'When you say Bharat you will lose your fear of your enemies?We will make weapons, produce good paper, we will build big factories and create great schools. We will never rest, nor sleep; we will be truthful and excel?'
Bharathi's strong nationalistic sense may be illustrated by this:
ஆயிரம் உண்டிங்கு சாதி, எனில் அன்னியர் வந்து புகலென்ன நீதி!
We may have thousand of sects; that, however, does not justify a foreign invasion.
Religious and philosophical poems
Bharati produced such masterpieces as Kannan Paattu (Song of Krishna), in which Bharati sought to portray God as the source of all of humanity's passions in the most accessible of forms including in the roles of a love-lorn lover, of a mischievous child, of an innocent child, and of a wise teacher.
Bharati also published two of his most widely read epics during this period: Panchali Sapatham (Draupadi's Vow), a poetic semi-political reflection on greed, pride and righteousness derived from the Indian epic Mahabharata, and Kuyil Paatu (Song of The Cuckoo), an ode and a tribute to the poet's favourite Shelley.
Carnatic Music compositions
Bharati composed Carnatic music kritis in Tamil on love, devotion, etc. He set his songs to music and could sing them well in a variety of ragas. In Bharata Deviyin Thiru Dasangam he used ten different ragas. His patriotic songs emphasize nationalism, unity of India, equality of man and the greatness of the Tamil language, set to folk tunes. He sang these himself at various political meetings.
Although he was fluent in Sanskrit (and other languages including Bengali, Hindi, Sanskrit, Kutchi, French and English), he only composed two songs purely in Sanskrit, with the vast majority being in Tamil.
In an article Sangeeta Vishayam (Issues in Music), Bharatiyar rebukes musicians for singing songs of the Trinity, Patnam Subramania Iyer and others without knowing the meaning because the songs are all in Sanskrit or Telugu. He says, without knowing the meaning, singers are unable to sing with proper _expression_. He also says songs usually portray devotion and love and not other emotions like courage, anger, wonder, fear, and hatred. He emphasized that musicians should not sing songs which they do not understand and should learn from Hindustani musicians how to train their voices.
Bharati set tunes for a number of his songs, however not all of them have been recovered. Some of the songs of Bharati that are currently very popular in the Carnatic music concert circuit include: Theeratha Vilaiyattu Pillai, Chinnanchiru Kiliye (tuned by him in Raga Bhairavi, but popularised in Ragamalika), Suttum Vizhi, Thikku Theriyaatha, Senthamizh Nadenum, and Paarukkule Nalla Naadu.
As a journalist, Bharati was the first in India to introduce caricatures and political cartoons to his newspapers; they were satirical and angry hand-drawn illustrations of the poet that improvised heavily on the works of his inspiration Thomas Nast. He published and edited various journals such as Swadeshamitran, India, Vijaya, and Bala Bharatham.
Innovation in Tamil poetry
Bharati was a pioneer in introducing a new style of Tamil poetry. Until then the poems had to follow the strict syntactic rules set down by the ancient Tamil grammatical treatise Tolkappiyam. Bharati broke this syntactic bonds and created a prose-poetic style known as the puthukkavithai (modern poems).
Bharati's was a prolific writer and in his short life he produced numerous poems short and long, essays, prose-poetry and fiction. He wrote poems in both the conventional as well as his new style of puthukkavithai. His works may be broadly classified into these heading
Autobiography (சுய சரிதை)
Patriotic songs (தேசிய கீதங்கள்)
Philosophical songs (ஞானப்பாடல்கள்)
Miscellaneous songs (பல்வகைப் பாடல்கள்)
Devotional songs (தோத்திரப் பாடல்கள்)
Commentary on Gita (பகவத் கீதை முன்னுரை)
Kannan song, Kuyil song (கண்ணன் பாட்டு, குயில் பாட்டு)
Panchali's Vow (பாஞ்சாலி சபதம்)
Chandrika's story (சந்திரிகையின் கதை) (an unfinished novel)
Pappa Pattu (பாப்பாப் பாட்டு) (Songs for the Children)
A statue of Subramania Bharati is unveiled by President R. Venkataraman (right) with Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi (centre) and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. G. Ramachandran in attendanceHis poetry expressed a progressive, reformist ideal. His powerful imagery and the vigour of his verse has come to symbolise Tamil culture in many respects. Bharathiyaar famously espoused greater freedom and respect for women:
We will destroy the idiocy
Of denigrating womanhood
In the poem, Bharati expresses his frustrations at some of the deploring superstitions of his fellow men which are responsible for their remaining as slaves despite all their resources and glorious past.
'My blood boils to think of these idiotic men! How many divisions within us, they are more than a crore!?'
Bharati fought against the caste system in the Hindu society. Although born into an orthodox Brahmin family, he gave up his own caste identity. One of his great sayings meant, "There are only two castes in the world: One who is educated and one who is not". 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.
Bharati's health was badly affected by the imprisonments and by 1920, when a General Amnesty Order finally removed restrictions on his movements, Bharati was struggling in penury and failing health resulting in his tragic premature death.
Bharati was struck by an elephant at Parthasarathy temple, Thiruvallikeni, Chennai. It is an irony of fate that a temple elephant, whom he used to feed regularly, attacked him one day from which he got very sick. He however survived the mishap. A few months later his health deteriorated and he died on September 11, 1921, not yet forty years of age. Though Bharati was a people's poet there were only around fifteen people to attend his funeral. 
The last years of his life were spent in a house in Triplicane, Chennai. This house was bought and renovated by the Government of Tamil Nadu in 1993 and named 'Bharathiyar Illam' (Home of Bharathiyar).
Oppiliappan Koil Varadachari Sadagopan
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