29 April 1891
Pondicherry, French India
(now in Puducherry, India)
|Died||21 April 1964 (aged 72)|
(now Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India)
|Occupation||Teacher, Tamil poet, Tamil activist|
|Period||Pure Tamil movement|
|Children||Saraswathi Kannappan (Daughter)|
Vasantha Dhandapani (Daughter)
Ramani Sivasubramaniyan (Daughter)
|Parents||Father: Kanagasabai |
Bharathidasan (IPA: /ˈbɑːˌrʌθiˈðɑːˌsʌn/; born K. Subburathinam 29 April 1891 – 21 April 1964), was a 20th-century Tamil poet and rationalist writer whose literary works handled mostly socio-political issues. He was deeply influenced by the Tamil poet Subramania Bharathi and named himself "Bharathi dasan" meaning follower or adherent of Bharathi. His greatest influence was Periyar and his self-respect movement. Bharathidasan's writings served as a catalyst for the growth of the Self-Respect Movement in Tamil Nadu. In addition to poetry, his views found expression in other forms such as plays, film scripts, short stories and essays. 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)).
Kanaka Subburathinam was born in Puducherry (earlier called Pondicherry) on 29 April 1891 to parents Kanagasabai and Lakshmi Ammal of Kaikolar community. He was deeply influenced by the Tamil poet and freedom fighter, Subramania Bharathi, who mentored him and hence Subburathinam named himself "Bharathi dasan" meaning follower or adherent of Bharathi. He is popularly known as Bharathidasan (Tamil: பாரதிதாசன்). A twentieth century Tamil poet, Bharathidasan was an active participant in the Indian independence movement, he opposed both the British Raj and the French colonial government. He was imprisoned for voicing his views against the French Government that was ruling Pondicherry at that time. Bharathidasan was a poet in his own right, writing mostly on socio-political issues like women’s liberation, rationalism, and against caste discrimination. He was greatly influenced by the great rationalist leader and social reformer, Periyar E. V. Ramaswami. Bharathidasan became one of the key figures in the Dravidian rationalist movement. He was bestowed the titles ‘puratchi kavinjar’ (revolutionary poet) and 'paa vendhar' (king of poetry) to honor his excellence in Tamil poetry and he was widely known by his titles. Bharathidasan works were nationalized meaning brought into public domain in 1991 by the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M. Karunanidhi. Bharathidasan's works can be found at the open access Tamil literature repository Project Madurai.
He remained a prolific writer and poet till he died in 1964. He was awarded the Sahitya Academy Award posthumously for his Tamil play Pisiraandhaiyaar. One among his famous lines is ‘அறிவை விரிவு செய், அகண்டமாக்கு’, ‘Arivai virivu sei, agandamakku’ meaning “Expand knowledge – make it universal”. Named after this great poet, it has been Bharathidasan institute of management's endeavour to expand and universalize knowledge.
Named after the revolutionary poet Bharathidasan, the Bharathidasan University was set up in 1982 as an offshoot of the University of Madras. The motto of the University “We will create a brave new world” has been framed from Bharathidasan’s poetic words “புதியதோர் உலகம் செய்வோம்”. The University endeavours to be true to such a vision by creating in the region a brave new world of academic innovation for social change.
*Bharathidasan was conferred with the title of "Puratchi Kavingyar" (meaning the "Revolutionary Poet") by Periyar.