Bharathi who was born on December 11, 1882 and lived only 39 years on this earth, was a great Tamil poet of India, a freedom fighter and a devoted reformer. He was a prolific writer, philosopher and a great visionary of immense genius who foresaw Indian independence long before it came into a realty. He was also one of the most prominent leaders of the Indian independence movement. Through his enervating poems he roused up the nation from its slumber and induced a thirst for freedom in all the people of India, who were groping in illiteracy and ignorance. His patriotic songs emphasize nationalism, unity of India, equality of men, eradication of superstitions and blind beliefs and the greatness of Tamil language.
Inspired by the Goddess of Knowledge
The real name of Bharathi was Subramani. Right from the cradle, he had the special gift of literature bestowed on him by the Goddess of Knowledge Saraswathi. When he was just seven, he wrote a poem and was honored by the local king with this name Bharathi. Besides Tamil, he was fluent in many languages including Bengali, Hindi, Sanskrit, Telugu, French and English and he also translated works from other languages into Tamil. He had a voracious appetite for learning ancient and contemporary Tamil literature and had a gifted intellect to derive astonishing truths from ancient literatures.
Indiawas reeling under the colonial rule of the British. The rules and regulations for the Indian people were framed in England. By 1912, Bharathi was already a legend in South India and his political meetings attracted multitudes of young patriots, ready to join the non-violent constitutional agitation against the British rule. As a journalist, he wrote forceful articles about the necessity of national freedom. He could not be subdued by several arrests and bans on his newspapers.
A prophet of Indian freedom
Bharathi sang, “Let us dance and sing; for our nation is free now! No longer are we slaves to any nation. We shall frame our own laws and regulations. All the 3.3 million people of India (early in 1908) are the kings and queens of the country!” His voice strongly raised in his poems hailing the free nation, which he called Mother Bharat.
Breaking the centuries-old tradition of Tamil poetry, Bharathi composed poems for the common man. In simple words he created immortal poems. His poems have become perennial favorites of all generations. He personifies everything in nature and made them indelible characters of matchless creations. Even today, his voice continues to reverberate through his wonderful works. He dedicated himself completely to the causes of nation and poetry. Through his poems he fought against social evils and blind beliefs.
Though short-lived, Bharathi could kindle the fire of freedom throughout the nation. Freedom he aspired for was not just political, but he wished that the nation should be free from the fetters of ignorance, disparities of caste, color, creed, etc. and gender violence. His passionate nationalism, devotion to universal Godhood, and thirst for equality are still making Bharathi a guiding star of the nation, Bharat.