Mahakavi Subramanya Bharati

Mahakavi Subramanya Bharati(Dec 11, 1882 – Forever)

He 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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 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…’

A Collection By Chetan

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