“Crow and sparrow is our kith and long
Seas and mountains our kin!”
“Your soul and the soul of the world is one. You, I, crocodile, tortoise, fly, eagle, donkey and all are one life.”
Chinnaswami Subramanya Bharathi, 1882-1921, (Tamil: சின்னசுவாமி சுப்பிரமணிய பாரதி) was a Tamil writer, poet, journalist, Indian independence activist and social reformer from Tamil Nadu, India. Popularly known as Mahakavi Bharathiyar (Tamil: மகாகவி பாரதியார்), he is a pioneer of modern Tamil poetry, who turned to colloquial vocabulary and rhythms and brought the written Tamil closer to speech.
Perhaps best known for his patriotism and anti colonialism, for which he was exiled by the British to the then French colony of Pondicherry, as well as his ardent social activism, including advocacy of women’s rights and criticism of the caste system, he was also a passionate nature lover and a great humanist who drew inspiration from the spiritual heritage of India.
Bharati’s works have been pondered over, analysed and debated by many a scholar and amateur alike, used in numerous films and stage productions, but most of all loved by millions of fans and admirers.
This post is just a little nudge to those who have not yet discovered this great Tamil poet and we invite you to pause for thought with a few lines from his wonderful epic poem the Cuckoo’s Song (Kuyil Pattu)
In all this extensive world
The trees so many,
The gay scented plants,
The green grass and the rare herbs,
How do they make their living?
If man neither tilled nor sowed,
Neither tended nor watered,
Still the rains from the heavens
Must feed the trees, corn and grass.
Nothing fear, mortals: follow me.
Do not incessantly toil;
Trust Nature to give you food;
Love is your only duty here.
“The alchemy which can draw out beauty from earth and sky, stone and water, light and darkness, raven and nightingale, is love, love, love all the way. Bharati’s elixir was Love which alone can bring out the soul of the good, beautiful and true from all things.” Prema Nandakumar, Bharati scholar