Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bharathi - The National Poet

Friends its time to remember national poet,'Mahakavi' Subramanya Bharathiyaar. His birth anniversary falls on December 11th.Many don't remember this.To be frank,many don't know this at all.But on December 12th the media will celebrate the birthday of another person like anything and they give immense importance to him.Anyway that is purely for commercial purpose and I have no right to criticise the private channels.But they can telecast atleast a one hour program about freedom fighters and national leaders on such occasions.No issues,let us spend sometime for him and let me share something which I know about him in this space.

He was born in the year 1882 in a place called Ettayapuram.He is a great revolutionary and a reformer.In Tamil Nadu,it was Bharathi who raised his voice against casteism.He was the one who worked for women education too.After him so many people who claimed/claims themselves as reformers(பகுத்தறிவாளி),did some activities to wipe out casteism.But what makes Bharathi special? The time period during which he did all these things,that makes him special.Bharathi was born in a brahmin family.He fought against untouchability in the society.He wrote lot of poems against casteism as follows:

"ஜாதிகள் இல்லையடி பாப்பா
ஜாதிகள் இல்லையடி பாப்பா - குலத்
தாழ்ச்சி உயர்ச்சி சொல்லல் பாபம் - பாப்பா
ஜாதிகள் இல்லையடி பாப்பா"

another one :

வெள்ளை நிறத்தொரு பூனை - எங்கள்
வீட்டில் வளருது கண்டீர்.

பிள்ளைகள் பெற்றதப் பூனை - அவை
பேருக் கொருநிற மாகும்

சாம்பல் நிறமொரு குட்டி - கருஞ்
சாந்து நிறமொரு குட்டி

பாம்பு நிறமொரு குட்டி - வெள்ளைப்
பாலின் நிறமொரு குட்டி

எந்த நிறமிருந் தாலும் - அவை
யாவும் ஒரேதர மன்றோ?

இந்த நிறம்சிறி தென்றும் - இஃது
ஏற்றமென் றுஞ்சொல்ல லாமோ?

Not only in words,he also showed his protest against casteism in deeds.He used to drink Tea in a shop owned by Muslim.In this era that is not a big deal.That is a normal activity.But in those days, that was considered as a sin.And he even went to the extent of doing something even more revolutionary.He made a person belonging to a so called suppressed community(தாழ்த்தப்பட்ட சமூகம்),Kanakalingam,to wear theYajnopavitam thread(பூணூல்).On seeing his revolutionary activities,another great poet, Kanaka SubbuRathinam,changed his name as Bharathidasan.

As a poet he has written KannanPaattu,KuyilPaattu,PanchaliSabatham etc.There is a unique speciality in Bharathi's poems.Bharathi had a great musical knowledge and he tuned his songs.I have heard from people,who has real musical knowledge,that while reading the poems itself u can feel the musical touch in it.And many songs of Bharathiyar has been used in Tamil films like Kakkai Siraginile Nandhalala,Sutrum Vizhi Sudar Than, Odi Vilayadu Pappa,Nallathor Veenai Seithen,Theertha Karayinile,Aaduvome Pallu Paaduvome etc. And even in Carnatic musical concerts,many classical singers will sing Bharathi's songs only.You can observe this in jaya tv or vijay tv or anyother tv channels,which will host 'Margazhi' maha-utsavam shows.Singers like Nithyashree Mahadevan,Bombay Jayashree etc will be featuring in those shows.You can observe them singing Bharathi's songs for sure.

Bharathi knows so many languages.He never restricted himself to Tamil alone.He was fluent in many languages such as English,French,Telugu,Bengali,Hindi,Sanskrit etc.He learnt so many languages,but that didn't make him forget Tamil and still he is the greatest poet in Tamil.So in my opinion nothing wrong in learning other languages.And pouring Tar on the boards or spending hundreds of crores to conduct a conference,for the sake of publicity will not help to grow Tamil.

Anyway see the national thought of Bharathi in the following song:

சிந்து நதியின் மிசை நிலவினிலே

சேர நன்னாட்டிளம் பெண்களுடனே

சுந்தர தெலுங்கினில் பாட்டிசைத்து

தோனிகள் ஒட்டி விளையாடி வருவோம்

This song actually means,In the moonlight,in the Sindh river,along with Chera Kingdom girls(Kerala girls), we will sing a song in the beautiful language,Telugu, and row the boats and play.


கங்கை நதிபுறத்து கோதுமை பண்டம்

காவிரி வெற்றிலைக்கு மாறு கொள்வோம்

சிங்க மராத்தியர் தம் கவிதை கொண்டு

சேரத்து தந்தங்களை பரிசளிப்போம்

We will get the wheat that grows near the ganga river and will exchange it with betel leaf that grows on the sides of Cauvery.For the poems of Marathas,we will give Keralas tusks in return
( I apologise for pathetic english-translation of Mahakavi's song,I am not good at translating poems,but still to stress the national view of Bharathi only I translated the above song).
In the song,he has written another line as :
சிங்களத் தீவினுக்கோர் பாலமமைப்போம் (We will build a bridge to the Island Nation SriLanka).
He  never asked to do dredging in the sea to make a sea route to SriLanka(I feel its better to not even think of Ram-Sethu sea route project).

He is a big fan of English poet P B Shelly.He has written a poem by using a nickname,ShellyDasan.Though he has fluency in so many languages,he still loves Tamil more than anyother language and he feels,in his
opinion,Tamil is the best.

 யாமறிந்த மொழிகளிலேயே தமிழ் மொழி போல் இனிதாவதெங்ககும் காணோம்

This means that,among the languages which he knows,he holds Tamil as the best.

I have gone through an article about Bharathi written by a writer,late Mr.Su.Samuthiram long long ago.In that he has spoken with people who knew Bharathi personally(Bharathi died at an young age).Those people,still considers Bharathi as nothing more than an eccentric.Yes,Bharathi was considered an eccentric by many people those days.In India,every genius will be considered as an eccentric only.But Bharathi never cared anyone.

He was a man of confidence.See the below poem,you can understand:

தேடிச் சோறுநிதந் தின்று - பல

சின்னஞ் சிறுகதைகள் பேசி – மனம்

வாடித் துன்பமிகவுழுன்று - பிறர்

வாடப் பலசெயல்கள் செய்து - நரை

கூடிக் கிழப்பருவம் எய்தி - கொடுங்

கூற்றுக் கிரையெனப் பின்மாயும் - பல

வேடிக்கை மனிதரைப் போல - நான்

வீழ்வே னென்று நினைத் தாயோ?

Even at the time of his death,he was not scared or he was not sad.He said,

 "காளா! உன்னை சிறுபுல்லென மதிக்கிறேன். என் காலருகே வாடா! உன்னை மிதிக்கிறேன்"

It means,he considers the Yama as a small grass and says he will kick him if he comes to take his life.Such a bold and confident poet he is.

The sad part is that,still some of the so called reformers(பகுத்தறிவாளிகள்) bash him in the name of caste.The person who fought against casteism,is still being bashed in the name of cast.They still call him as a 'PaarppanaKavi'.

நெஞ்சு பொறுக்குதில்லையே - இந்த

நிலைகெட்ட மனிதரை நினைந்துவிட்டால்

Its a real pity that,a national poet,a revolutionary poet,with full of national thoughts is being viewed as Brahmin poet.

பாரதக்கவியை பார்ப்பனக் கவியென வசை பாடுவது கேவலம் தானே!!

I could have very well written this article in Tamil itself.But some people really find it difficult to read Tamil fonts it seems.I want everyone to know atleast something about Bharathi.So only I wrote this post in English and included peoms alone in Tamil.Spend a few minutes to read this article and adjust with some pathetic grammar in the translations of the poems.