- The Magazine for Brahmins
Subramaniya Bharathi was born on 11 December 1882 in Ettiyapuram in Tamil Nadu. Bharathi died on 11 September 1921. In a relatively short life span of 39 years, Bharathi left an indelible mark as the poet of Tamil nationalism and Indian freedom.
Bharathi's mother died in 1887 and two years later, his father also died. At the age of 11, in 1893 his prowess as a poet was recognised and he was accorded the title of 'bharathi'. He was a student at Nellai Hindu School and in 1897 he married Sellamal. Thererafter, from 1898 to 1902, he lived in Kasi.
Bharathi worked as a school teacher and as a journal editor at various times in his life. As a Tamil poet he ranked with Ilanko, Thiruvalluvar and Kamban. His writings gave new life to the Tamil language - and to Tamil national consciousness. He involved himself actively in the Indian freedom struggle. It is sometimes said of Bharathi that he was first an Indian and then a Tamil.
Bharathi served as Assistant Editor of the Swadeshamitran in 1904. He participated in the 1906 All India Congress meeting in Calcutta and supported the demand of Swaraj wholeheartedly and found himself in the militant wing of the Indian National Congress together with Tilak and Aurobindo.
In April 1907, he became the editor of the Tamil weekly 'India'. At the same time he also edited the English newspaper 'Bala Bharatham'. He participated in the historic Surat Congress in 1907, which saw a sharpening of the divisions within the Indian National Congress between the militant wing led by Tilak and Aurobindo and the 'moderates'. Subramanya Bharathi supported Tilak and Aurobindo together with V.O.Chidambarampillai and Kanchi Varathaachariyar.
These were the years when Bharathi immersed himself in writing and in political activity. In Madras, in 1908, he organised a mammoth public meeting to celebrate 'Swaraj Day'. His poems 'Vanthe Matharam', 'Enthayum Thayum', 'Jaya Bharath' were printed and distributed free to the Tamil people.
In 1908, he gave evidence in the case which had been instituted by the British against 'Kappal Otiya Thamizhan', V.O.Chidambarampillai. Faced with the prospect of arrest, Bharathi escaped to Pondicherry which was under French rule.
From there Bharathi edited and published the 'India' weekly. He also edited and published 'Vijaya', a Tamil daily, Bala Bharatha, an English monthly, and 'Suryothayam' a local weekly of Pondicherry. Both 'India' and 'Vijaya' were banned in British India in 1909.
Aurobindo escaped to Pondicherry in 1910. Bharathi met with Aurobindo in Pondicherry and the discussions often turned to religion and philosophy. He assisted Aurobindo in the 'Arya' journal and later 'Karma Yogi' in Pondicherry. In November 1910, Bharathi released an 'Anthology of Poems' which included 'Kanavu'. V.V.S. Aiyar also arrived in Pondicherry in 1910.
"All of them, whether there was any warrant against them or not, were constantly being watched by British agents in Pondicherry. Bharathi was a convinced believer in constitutional agitation."
In 1912, Bharathy published his Commentaries on the Bhavad Gita in Tamil as well as Kannan Paatu, Kuyil Paatu and Panjali Sabatham.
After the end of World War I, Bharathi entered British India near Cuddalore in November 1918. He was arrested and imprisoned in the Central prison in Cuddalore in custody for three weeks - from 20 November 20 to 14 December.
He was released after he was prevailed upon to give an undertaking to the British India government that he would eschew all political activities. These were years of hardship and poverty.
Bharathy met with Mahatma Gandhi in 1919 and in 1920, Bharathy resumed editorship of the Swadeshamitran in Madras. That was one year before his death in 1921. l
From blog: http://bharathiyar.gratussolutions.com/