Subramanya Bharati, popularly known as ‘Mahakavi Bharathiar’, is one of the greatest Tamil poets, who through his poems encouraged patriotism among people at the time of Indian Freedom Struggle.
Leading Literary Figure
Considered one of the leading figures in Tamil literature, Subramanya Bharati’s works mainly ranged in social, religious and patriotic arena.
Subramanya Bharati, affectionately called Bharathiar was born in Ettyapuram on December 11th, 1882. He completed his education in Tirunelveli and Varanasi.
Birth Place of Bharathiar
Taking part in Freedom struggle
He joined the Indian National Congress and carried out revolutionary activities against the British rule, an aspect of which was his stirring poetry through which he kindled nationalism in people.
He also wrote articles for newspapers such as Swadeshamitra and India.
A National Poet
Mahatma Gandhi called him a national poet.
Poems on Women Emancipation
Among his poems were also many songs for women’s emancipation with the title of Kannama.
Coming to Pondicherry
The British police issued a warrant against him in 1908 for carrying out revolutionary activities. Bharathiar then went to Pondicherry, a French colony and lived there for the next 10 years. Here, he translated the Bhagavad Gita into Tamil.
Friendship with V O Chidambaram Pillai
Bharathiar was a close friend of V O Chidambaram Pillai, the other great freedom fighter who started the Swadeshi Shipping Company, forcibly closed by the British, as they perceived it as a threat to British interests.
V O Chidambaram Pillai Swadeshi Shipping Company
Bharathiar’s end came when he was shoved aside by an elephant in mast, at the Parthasarathy Temple in Triplicane, Madras. His condition deteriorated rapidly and he passed away on 11th September, 1921.
Parthasarathy Temple, Thiruvallikeni
Among his great grandchildren, Rajkumar Bharati is carrying forward his legacy.
The home where he spent the last few years of his life in Triplicane, also called Thiruvallikeni, has been named Bharathiar Illam, which stands adjacent to the Parthasarathy Temple.
In Tamil Films
The songs of Bharathiar have been used in the Tamil films and Carnatic Music, for the past many decades.
Feature Film – Bharathi
Bharathi, a film on the life of Bharathiar was released in the year 2000. This film won the National Film Award for best Tamil Feature Film, for the year 2000.
Bharathi Film on Bharathiar’s life
Streets, Associations and University in name
Almost every town of Tamil Nadu has a Bharathiar street. Tamil associations in different cities of the world have been named after him. There is a University in his name at Coimbatore. Such are his literary achievements.
Bharathiar University, Coimbatore
Stamps in name
There are also stamps and coins released in his name by the government of India.
Stamp on Bharathiar
Statues and Idols
Many statues have been erected for Bharatiyar all over Tamil Nadu. There are also some temples where his idol can be found. One such place is in Madhya Kailash temple in Adayar, Chennai, which has an idol for Bharathiar.
Statue of Bharathiar, Chennai Statue of Bharathiar, Pondicherry
Bharathiar Statue in Varanasi
All these speak of the immense popularity and wide acceptance of this Mahakavi.