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The Great Tamil Poet Subramanya Bharathiar

‘Bharathiyar’ is the name that reminds Indians of nationalism, patriotism and Tamil prose and poetry. Born in 1882 he was conferred the title of ‘Bharati’ for his poetic talent at a tender age. Bharati emerged as a prolific poet earning the name of ‘Mahakavi’, meaning a Great Poet. He died at the age of 39 but in his short span of life he had made immeasurable contribution to his country and language.

Life of a patriot

He lived in the eventful years of our country’s freedom struggle. He had met his contemporaries who influenced his political thinking like Mahatma Gandhi, Tilak, Sister Nivedita, Aurobindo Gosh, VVS Iyer and Lajpat Roy. The Tamil poet and writer’s life itself is a shining example of upholding the spirit of freedom, equality, justice and love despite poverty and against the oppressive British rule. He was the assistant editor of ‘Swadesamithran’ a Tamil daily from 1904 to 1907. He launched ‘India’ the Tamil weekly of which he was the editor and later edited a newspaper ‘Bala Bharatam’ in English. He had a turbulent life laced with living in exile, arrest, being jailed amidst abject poverty. He resumed as editor of Swadesamithran a year before his death in 1921.

Social reformist

His lofty dreams about our society and the country came out brilliantly in his songs and prose. He had the uncanny ability of using his literary skills to the best to kindle the patriotic feelings of the masses and about the evils of the society which caused all their problems.

He proudly proclaims that the there is no other country in the world can equal the greatness of India which has the Himalyan mountains, the sacred river Ganges and the Upanishads in his song “Mannum Imaya malai’ and ‘paarukkule nalla naadu’. He is equally proud about the Richness and sweetness of the Tamil language in his lines ‘yamarindha mozhiugalile’. He proclaims with equal pride the richness and uniqueness of the Tamil language.

Advocating Freedom and Casteless society

He fearlessly wrote about freedom for individuals as wells as nations being influenced by ‘Vande Mataram’ the patriotic song by Bankim Chandra. These meetings have injected fearlessness into his writing. Considering this to be a divine inspiration he went on to write revolutionary compositions that were packed with national unity and the spirit of freedom His songs brought a spiritual dimension to the freedom movement. ‘Swathesa Geethangal’ and ‘Janma Bhoomi’ which he dedicated to sister Nivedita are examples of his patriotic songs and serving the underprivileged and emancipation of women. They were distributed to the people during the freedom movement of India. His dreams of a free India and a society that is educated, devoid of its social evils and living in harmony. We can see that many of his dreams have come true today. His writings when he was in exile in Puduchery were so powerful that the British even jailed him.

His songs for the children in ‘Paappa Paattu’ and ‘Pudhiya Aathichoodi’ evoked a sense of equality, love towards all living beings, casteless society and courage etc. His simple words convey the ethical and moral principles to the young minds effortlessly. His unique style was simple with a technique of weaving the spoken language and rhythm into beautiful prose and poetry.

The literary genius Bharati has made an indelible mark in the minds of crores of Tamil people through his writings that included novels, short stories, essays and poetry.

You can download Subramanya Bharatiyar's poems for free on

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Article Added on Sunday, June 14, 2009
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