Tamil poet and Nationalist Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathi

Subramanya Bharathiyar :

• The great Tamil poet and Nationalist Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathi Tamil poet and Nationalist Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathiwas born on 11 December 1882 at Ettayapuram in Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu.

Chinnaswamy Subramanya Bharathi, also called Bharathiyar was born to Chinnaswamy Iyer and Lakshmi Ammal. He was called Subbiah in his childhood.

• At the age of 11, he won a debate in the court of Ettayapuram Raja and was bestowed the title ‘Bharathi’ (meaning blessed by Goddess Saraswati).

• His participation and activities in Benaras Session (1905) and Surat Session (1907) of the Indian National Congress impressed many national leaders for his patriotic fervour.

• at the historic Surat session of the Congress in 1907 when the party split into extremists and moderates, Bharathi sided with Bal Gangadhar Tilak and supported armed resistance against the authorities.

• his patriotic songs inspired people to participate in the freedom movement in Tamil Nadu.

• In 1919, he met Mahatma Gandhi. One year later in 1920, he resumed being the editor of Swadeshamitran in Chennai.

• Condemned certain Shastras that denigrated women. He believed in the equality of humankind and criticised many preachers for mixing their personal prejudices while teaching the Gita and the Vedas.

• In Pondicherry, he met Sister Nivedita, a Disciple of Swami Vivekananda, there he added Women’s rights in his policies along with several social issues.

• There he took the Symbolism of Shakthi as the image of modern women who is powerful, strong, independent and also equal to men.

• He used simple but effective words and rhythm. As a poet, his theme ranged from patriotism to nature, from romance to philosophy, from devotion to self-respect.

Bharathiyar writings are “Kannan Pattu”, “Nilavum Vanminum Katrum”, “Panchali Sabatam”, “Kuyil Pattu”.

• His famous poems include Achamillai Achamillai, Suttum Vizhichudadar, Agni Sthomam, etc.

• His poems have and continue to inspire millions of people around the globe. He is fondly called “Mahakavi Subramanya(Great Poet)”.

• Bharathiyar’s work Panchali Sabatham depicted India as Draupadi, the British as Gauravas and the freedom fighters as Pandavas. He portrayed Mother India(Draupadi) struggling under English rule.

• He translated Vedic hymns, Bhagavad Gita and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra into Tamil.

• He organised a huge public meeting in Madras in 1908 to celebrate ‘Swaraj Day’ and distributed free printed of his poem named ‘Vande Mataram’, ‘Enthayum Thayum’, ‘Jaya Bharath’.

• He passed away on 11 September 1921 aged just 38.

• In 1949, he became the first poet whose works were nationalised by the state government.

As a Social reformer :

• He was against the caste system and declared there were only two castes, one is men and other is women.

• He believed in women rights, gender equality and women emancipation.

• He opposed child marriage, supported widow remarriage. He opposed the dowry system.

• He himself removed his Sacred thread (“poonool” in Tamil).

• He adorned many Scheduled caste people with Poonool.

• He also fought for Temple entry for Dalits.

• Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathi had a clear India “Until Indians unite as children of Mother India, they will not achieve freedom”.

 His Journals :

• He began his career as sub editor in Swadeshamitran in November 1904.

• He published astonishing “Sudesa Geethangal” in 1908.

• He edited and published journals India, Vijaya. He also published an English monthly named Bala Bharatha and a local weekly of Pondicherry named Suryothayam.

• In 1909, the British government banned ‘India’ and ‘Vijaya’ in India.

• Inspired by the French revolution (Liberty, Equality and Fraternity), Bharathi printed the weekly newspaper named ‘India’ in red paper.

• “India” was the first paper in Tamilnadu to publish political cartoons.


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