On Tuesday (Jan 21), we had been to Sampath Chitappa’s place, then my cousin Geeta’s place and finally met with Krishna and Murari who are more friends than cousins. They all live in Triplicane, around the Parthasarathyswamy Temple. We had to get some spices from the “Naatu Marundu” (desi spice store) kadai. We left Amma and Sampath Chitappa at Geeta’s place and went to get the spices. On the way, we found Mahakavi Bharathiyar’s house that has been turned into a memorial.
Once we got our spices, we stopped at the Memorial. Entry is free, just leave your footwear outside. The walls are filled with photographs that trace the life of one of the most significant freedom fighters of TamilNadu – the fierce Mahakavi Subramania Bharathi. The only reason he is not given much importance by the Dravida parties is because he happens to be a Brahmin !!
Subramanya Bharathi lived for just 39 years… his poems still sear your heart and leave you feeling motivated and energized. For all the lip service that many leaders do for women empowerment, Bharatiyar was the first champion of women empowerment. There is a picture of his entire family in the memorial, where his wife Chellamma is seated while he is standing… just unheard of in those times. For all the Brahmin hounders, Bharatiyar totally broke down all barriers by performing the upanayanam for a dalit and making him a Brahmin. He wanted the caste system introduced by the British to be broken. He was fluent in several languages including Sanskrit, Hindi, French and a smattering of Arabic.
The Aurangzeb road in Delhi was renamed as Subramania Bharathi road for a few days …. its now renamed as Rajesh Pilot Road – so much respect for a man who gave his all for India’s freedom. :(:(
A small personal connection that Krishnan’s family has with Bharatiyar – my mother-in-law’s paternal grandfather was Bharatiyar’s friend and would take food for him when he was in jail. Bharatiyar’s books were banned by the Britsh because they were inflammatory ! Many people hid his books and continued to read them.
We felt energised as we walked through his house. His famous verses inspired us to create ShikshaDaan …
Translation – Better than setting up a 1000 food centres, or building temples, even better than these good deeds, what will help you leave a legacy, and give you a lot of good karma (punya) is providing education to an underprivileged student.
I hope there can be a road named after Subramania Bharathi in the capital of India and more of his works are translated and students across India are inspired by him. Sending the thought out into the universe strongly :).
In 2015, we had been to his memorial at his birthplace Ettayapuram, near Tirunelveli.