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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sept 11 - Remembering Subrahmanya Bharathiyar

Sept. 11, the world over is remembered for different reason. In the minds of patriotic Indian, especially Tamil community, this is a day to remember the versatile revolutionary born as Subbaiah - as common a name any rustic village child would have. For the National activities, he was put in the list of list of anarchists, political suspects whose movements were shadowed closely, followed and arrested if they were to move into British territory. Though hailed as a genius, he lived in a single room and only a handful of people partook in his funeral procession.

the statue at Marina beach

Triplicane would evoke special memories for it was here in TP Koil Street, (Thulasinga Perumal Kovil Street) – the street that is named after Azgagiya Singar, the Narasimha of Sri Parthasarathi Swami temple – lived the great man. He lived in a house along with many others; he occupied a small room.

A genius of a person, he was, he was far ahead of his time and in the short span of his life, he planted the seeds of freedom all through Tamil nadu raising the national fervor. He was everything – a poet, a thinker, a reformer, a writer, newspaper editor, revolutionary, man not afraid of expressing his views. He was on the run for a major part of his life. Poverty and British Govt dogged him wherever he went but he was steadfast in his principles that he stood for. A hallmark of a great person…..

In many countries, places significantly identified with great men are considered revered and are preserved. The house where this great man lived and breathed his last, was sold – exchanged hands and decades later, Govt. thought of converting it into a monument. The house remains mute testimony for all the struggle and a few scores of visitors do dot the place once in a while. We at SYMA have organized many functions at this historic place.

Here is his history very briefly :
Bharati was born to Chinnasami Subramania Iyer and Lakshmi Ammaal on 11/12/1882 in the village Ettayapuram. He lost his mother when he was 5 and father at 16. He was married at a very early age. He studied at Benares. He worked as a school teacher in Madurai Sethupathy High School and as a journal editor at various times in his life.

He had strong views on Spirituality and nationalism. He became the Asst Editor of Swadeshamitran in 1904; in 1907 he started tamil weekly India and English newspaper Bala Bharatham. The nationalistic poet wrote poems hailing freedom, printed and distributed them free all over the state. In 1908 apprehending arrest, he escaped to Pondicherry. His publications remained unhindered from there. His publications India and Vijaya were banned in 1909. When he entered Cuddalore, he was arrested in Nov 1918 and imprisoned. He was fluent in many languages including Bengal, Hindi, Sanskrit, Kutchi, French and English and frequently translated works from other languages to tamil. He was not only a Poet par excellence, but was a progressive reformist and great leader. His health was badly affected by the imprisonments and the treatment meted out during his incarcerations and by the time when a General Amnesty order was issued, he was struggling in penury and health was failing him. He died on Sept. 11, 1921 – not even forty years of age but had planted more than what thousands of individuals could not achieve.

His poems are extremely sweet and convey the spirit behind them and can be easily understood by the common man. Bowing obeisance to the Great Poet Mahakavi Barathi on this day.

a copy of his magazine INDIA of Apr 1907

With great regards to the Poet  :  S Sampathkumar ( a proud resident of Triplicane) 

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