Kanagasabai Subburathnam 29 April —21 April popularly called Bharathidasan , was a 20th-century Tamil poet and writer rationalist whose literary works handled mostly socio-political issues. He was deeply influenced by the Tamil poet Subramania Bharati and named himself as Bharathidasan. The Government of Puducherry union territory has adopted the song of Invocation to Mother Tamil, written by Bharathidasan as the state song of Puducherry. Tamil Thai Valthu Puducherry [ citation needed ]. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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Although Bharathidasan is not quite a household name in contemporary Tamilnadu, this recognition by the State indicates that he is not forgotten either. The poet was born as Subburathinam in a wealthy Mudaliar family in Pondicherry, then a French colony on the east coast of Tamilnadu.
Hailing from a traditional land-owning caste of the region, he was heir to a hoary tradition of Tamil scholarship and Shaiva Siddhantam Shaivite philosophy , a branch of Hindu theology native to Tamilnadu that has been fostered over the centuries by the land-owning Vellalars.
Young Subburathinam received formal instruction in Tamil grammar, literary classics and Shaiva Siddhantham and excelled in his studies through school and college.
Endowed with an early gift for writing poetry, Subburathinam came into contact with the legendary Tamil poet Subramania Bharathi , freedom fighter who was in exile in Pondicherry for a decade Subramania Bharathi, revered among Tamils as Mahakavi Great Poet , is widely considered as the pioneer of Tamil modernity.
Bharathidasan, too, wrote works of devotional poetry — Mayilam Shree Shanmugam Pattu in and Mayilam Shree Subramaniar Thuthi in — in the bhakti style. The second was the retrieval and publication of 41 classical works belonging to the Sangam period over nearly forty years, starting from the last decade of the nineteenth century. The publication of Sangam classics, considered a supreme literary achievement in any language, and their wide public access, combined with the prevalent cultural opposition to Brahmin dominance, led to an assertion of Tamil identity based on the glorious Tamil past as revealed in Sangam literature.
On the political plane, this Tamil identity as advanced by Periyar and his disciple, CN Annadurai was opposed to the discursive identities of Brahmin, Indian nationalism and Sanskrit. This opposition has endured in the core of the Dravidian movement to various degrees right up to the present.
Bharathidasan, who continued to write conventional poetry in the manner of Subramania Bharathi through thes, inevitably came under the influence of this movement, which was led mainly by people of the land-owning Vellalar castes, then the only other socially and intellectually privileged social group apart from the Brahmins. He declared himself an atheist at a conference of atheists convened in by Singaravelar , the great Communist and trade union leader who later became a votary of Self-Respect movement.
His works since celebrated the life and nature of Tamils, in a language and style that had Sangam literature as its model but belonged very much to his own time. In this way, Bharathidasan totally modified the then prevailing trajectory of Tamil literature which had persisted for centuries, put the stamp of his personality on it, and changed the direction of Tamil poetry forever.
He was undoubtedly the greatest poet of the revolutionary winds sweeping across Tamil country at the time and established a new tradition of poetry to hold and celebrate the new consciousness. In addition to passionate advocacy of the causes and ideas central to the Dravidian movement social equality for the oppressed, opposition to Hindi, self-respect for all, inter-caste marriage, among others , Bharathidasan also wrote poems for children, youth and women.
He excelled particularly in writing contemporary narratives set in verse that established a new framework for writing imaginatively about the life of contemporary Tamils. As in Sangam poetry, nature and love had a special place in his work. Unlike the Sanskritic tradition which celebrated Nature as the creation of God, Bharathidasan related nature to the life and emotions of humans, again harking back to the Sangam tradition, and often for its own sake, a decidedly modern approach to nature in the Indian context.
His rousing paeans to the glory of Tamil and Tamil society, remarkably effective in their evocation of Tamil pride, have proved enduringly popular. His contributions included screenplays for the then fledgling Tamil talkies as well as plays on historical and social themes. However, the poetic tradition that he founded did not survive more than a generation or two after him.
The Vellalar tradition of Tamil studies and scholarship is itself marginalized within Tamilnadu due to the exigencies of electoral politics. Therefore, just as Sangam poetry has stagnated as an archaic memory in contemporary Tamil consciousness, Bharathidasan has remained a mere rhetorical memory in the hurly-burly of Dravidian politics.
As the rivalry between the two de-ideologized Dravidian parties becomes more acute, so does the competition for symbols. Unusually for the leader of a Dravidian party, she has also chosen to honour even heroes of the Indian nationalist movement like Thiru Vi Kalyanasundaram Mudaliar, Tiruppur Kumaran and Vanchinathan.
This latest honour conferred on the poet Bharathidasan could mirror the hollowness of the political present more than those ideals and visions that have long faded. Skip to main content. Remembering Bharathidasan: Prolific poet and Dravidian politics' rhetorical memory. Image: Bharathidasan University Website.
Remembering Bharathidasan: Prolific poet and Dravidian politics' rhetorical memory
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