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Monday, December 10, 2018

celebrating Birth Anniversary of Mahakavi Subramaniya Barathiyar 2018


11th  Dec  is a day to remember ~ it marks the 135th birth   anniversary of the greatest poet, a great son of India – Mahakavi Subrahmanya Barathiyar.
வந்தே மாதரம் என்போம்-எங்கள்  மாநிலத் தாயை வணங்குதல் என்போம்.
- என்ற வரிகளை கேட்டு மெய் சிலிர்த்தது உண்டா ?

The man who was to become an iconoclastic freedom fighter was born in a small village called Ettayapuram on Dec 11, 1882. His  parents  Chinnasami Subramanya Iyer and Lakhsmiammaal named him Subbaiah.  From a very young age he learnt music and at 11th , he learnt songs; he was conferred the title of "Bharathi" (one blessed by Saraswati, the goddess of learning).  Interestingly, this is what he claimed himself to be (at a much later stage !)

நமக்குத் தொழில்கவிதை,  நாட்டிற்கு உழைத்தல்*
இமைப் பொழுதுஞ் சோராதிருத்தல்- உமைக்கினிய
மைந்தன் கணநாதன் நங்குடியை வாழ்விப்பான்;
சிந்தையே! இன்மூன்றும் செய்.

He prayed Lord Siva (Umainathan) to bless the community stating that his avocation was ‘writing poetry, working for mother land and persevering without battling eye-lid for the cause’ – appeals blessing for these three !
சுப்ரமணிய பாரதியார் ~ ஒரு உன்னத பிறவி.   கவிதைகள் வாயிலாக மக்களின் மனதில் விடுதலை உணர்வை ஊட்டியவர். இவர் ஒரு கவிஞர் மட்டுமல்லாமல் ஒரு எழுத்தாளர், பத்திரிக்கை ஆசிரியர், சமூக சீர்திருத்தவாதி - தன்  காலத்துக்கு  மிகவும் பல்லாண்டுகள்  பிறகு நடக்க வல்லவை பற்றி  கூர் நோக்குடன் சிந்தித்தவர்.  குறைந்த காலமே வாழ்ந்தாலும் சாதனைகள் செய்தவர். இளமையிலேயே கவிபாடும் திறமை பெற்றிருந்த சுப்பிரமணியன், எட்டையபுர சமஸ்தானப் புலவர்கள் அவையில் பாரதி என்ற பட்டம் பெற்றார். அன்று முதல் இவர்“சுப்பிரமணிய பாரதியார்”என அழைக்கப்பெற்றார்.

wishes of Mahatma Gandhi for Manimandapam at Ettayapuram


Bharathi started his own journal India in 1906 and published his fiery patriotic poems and blunt anti-colonial articles. His association with V. O. C. became more intimate, the latter floated his Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company in 1906. Bharathi helped him in getting contributions for shares in the company and donations. The great man hailed as Kappalottiya thamizhan fought  Imperial British traders challenging them at sea.  Irked by this, VOC  was subsequently foisted with  serious charges of sedition and conspiracy, which got him two life terms of rigorous imprisonment whence he was physically assaulted and humiliated.  Barathiyar too underwent harassment and was severely injured in prison, which infact led to his death.
Sri Kannan purappadu and Barathiyar residence at Thiruvallikkeni

By his songs and concerted actions, he reached to the masses making the aware of the need for freedom struggle and could make a great movement in Southern part of the Nation.  He was a fiery leader with progressive leader and great vision, clearly a man who lived much beyond his age and foresaw things clearly.  Bharathi supported Tilak and Aurobindo together with V. O. Chidambaram Pillai and Kanchi Varathaachariyar. Tilak openly supported armed resistance against the British. In 1908, he gave evidence in the case which had been instituted by the British against V.O. Chidambaram Pillai. In the same year, the proprietor of the journal India was arrested in Madras. Faced with the prospect of arrest, Bharathi escaped to Pondicherry which was under French rule. From there he edited and published the weekly journal India, Vijaya, a Tamil daily, Bala Bharatha, an English monthly, and Suryothayam, a local weekly of Pondicherry. The British tried to suppress Bharathi's output by stopping remittances and letters to the papers. Both India and Vijaya were banned in British India in 1909.

His poetry stands out for many facets of his love for his motherland. He berates his countrymen for many social evils. He chastises them for a fearful and pusillanimous attitude towards the rulers. He gave a clarion call for national unity, removal of casteism and the removal of oppression of women. He calls for the British to leave the motherland in forceful ways at one point saying "Even if Indians are divided, they are children of One Mother, where is the need for foreigners to interfere?".

The land of Pondicherry bears connection to this great revolutionary.  Apart from running journals and magazines from here, he sung about the famous deity of Pondy ~ “Manakula Vinayagar” in his Vinayagar Nanmani Maalai [விநாயகர் நான்மணி மாலை] – by some accounts this was published out of handwritten manuscripts in 1929 posthomously.
 Barathiyar family and his manuscripts at Ettayapuram

Bharati’s knowledge of the happenings around him, and all over the world was accurate and detailed. As a journalist, who had to deal with international matters, he read almost all the English newspapers, especially those published from England. He discussed in his articles many matters relating to the freedom of India, its economic, political, artistic and spiritual growth, in comparison with other nations, who were caught in a similar predicament.

An Organisation ~ “Vaanavil Panpattu Maiyam”  have been celebrating the birth anniversary of Mahakavi every year, by organizing various programmes at Triplicane at the house where Bharatiyar resided.   This year they are celebrating Bharathi  [2 days at Kalaivanar Arangam & 2 days at Triplicane residence of Barathiyar]

In the words of Bharathi, those who are truly devoted would not be impatient and would not do things in a hurry for they know how life grows out steadily out of seed; and for those who are given to understanding the divine power is everything ~ also know that all they need to do is to work with esteem rest being taken by Divine shakthi.

பக்தியுடையார் காரியத்திற் பதறார், மிகுந்த பொறுமையுடன்
வித்து முளைக்குந் தன்மைபோல் மெல்லச்செய்து பயனடைவார்,
சக்தி தொழிலே அனைத்துமெனிற் சார்ந்த நமக்குச் சஞ்சலமேன்?
வித்தைக்கிறைவா, கணநாதா, மேன்மைத் தொழிலிற் பணியெனையே.

Fortunate to live in the land where great people like Bharathiyar lived and happy to be participating in such events.
With great regards to the poet – S. Sampathkumar.
11th Dec 2018.


1)     The man in the photo is a centurion (101+) – Mandayam S Parthasarathi Iyengar, son of Mandayam Srinivasachariyar who owned the magazine ‘India’ in which Barathiyar was employed as Editor. 

2)     The elderly gentleman (left)  seen is Mr Kumari Ananthan (85 yrs) – he had been MP from Nagercoil and later MLA from Thiruvottiyur, Radhapuram & Sathankulam.  He is known for his simplicity, Tamil oratory skills and affection to Mahakavi Barathiyar.
3)     Sri Muthuswami Dikshithar (1775-1835)_ poet composer- of the musical trinity of Carnatic music passed away in Ettayapuram.

Ettayapuram photos ~ special thanks to Mr M Chandrasekar



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