Monday, January 4, 2010

History of Mahakavi Bharathiar


History of Mahakavi Bharathiar


Subramanya Bharathi (December 11, 1882 - September 11, 1921) was a Tamil poet from Tamil Nadu, India, an independence fighter and iconoclastic reformer. Known as Mahakavi Bharathi (the laudatory epithet Maha Kavi meaning Great Poet in many Indian languages), he is celebrated as one of India's greatest poets. Bharathi was prolific and adept in both the prose and poetry forms. His compositions helped rally the masses to support the Indian independence movement in South India. Bharathi lived during an eventful
period of Indian history, his contemporaries including prominent leaders of the Indian independence movement such as Mahatma Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Sri Aurobindo and V.V.S.Aiyar.

His Life

Bharathi was born to Chinnasami Subramanya Iyer and Elakkumi (Lakshmi) Ammaal as "Subbayya" on December 11, 1882 in the Tamil village of Ettayapuram. He was educated at a local high school called "The M.D.T. Hindu College". From a very young age he learnt music and at 11, he was invited to a conference of Ettayapuram court poets and musicians for composing poems and songs. It was here that he was conferred the title of "Bharathi" ("one blessed by
Saraswati, the goddess of learning).

Bharathi lost his mother at the age of 5 and his father at the age of 16. He was brought up by his disciplinarian father who wanted him to learn English, excel in arithmetic, become an engineer and lead a comfortable life. However, Bharathi was given to day dreaming and could not concentrate on his studies. In 1897, perhaps to instil a sense of responsibility in him, his father had the 14 year old Bharathi married to his seven year younger cousin, Chellamal.

After this early marriage, Bharathi, curious to see the outside world, left for Benares in 1898. The next four years of his life served as a passage of discovery. During this time he discovered a country in tumult outside his small hamlet. Bharathi worked as a teacher in Madurai Sethupathy High School (now a higher secondary school) and as a journal editor at various times in his life.

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