Bharathidasan Songs

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Bharathidasan

Bharathidasan's considerable talents sought expression in various aspects such as plays or dramatic compositions, film scripts, short stories, essays, and criticism, he was primarily a poet and a prolific one at that. His collected poetical works run to over six hundred pages.

The distinguishing feature of Bharathidasan's literary production is his commitment to several socio-political causes. He is a poet and also a playwright. He is commited to his mother-tongue (Tamil), dravidian culture, socialism and humanity.

Life History

1891 : Bharathidasan was born on April 29th, Pondicherry to Kanakasapai, Ilakkumi Ammal as a third son.

1895 : Begins studies with a teacher called Tiruppunisami.

1907 : Admitted to Collège Calvé where he masters the Tamil language.

1908 : Studies Tamil grammar, Tamil literature, and Saiva Sittanta Vetanta under learned men : first, Pu.A. Periyasami and later, Pankaru Pattari. He distinguishes himself soon as a student topping the list on every occasion. Introduction to the renowned Brahmin Tamil poet Subramania Bharathiyar at Venu Nayakar’s house during the latter’s wedding where he sings one of Bharathiyar's Tesiyappatalkal which greatly pleases the author.

1909 : Appointment as teacher of Tamil at a school in Niravi, in the French territory of Karaikkal.

1918 : Not being either caste-conscious or religious-minded, he composes his first poems on religious themes in a Tamil that smacks of classical linguistico-poetic influences. He also composes verse, stories and essays in a modern style and publishes them under several pseudonyms, such as, Putuvai Kalaimakal, Tesopakari, Tesapaktan, Anantapotini, Sutesamittiran, Tamilarasu, Tupleks, Kirukkan, Kintalkaran, and Bharathidasan, but only the last becomes wellknown. For ten years, he aids Bharathiyar both with cash and in kind.

1919 : While teaching in Tirupuvanai, he is sentenced and imprisoned for fifteen months by the French on the charge of opposing the French Government. Dismissed from his post, he subsequently wins the court case and is reinstated before the term of imprisonment is over.

1920 : Begins activities in collaboration with the Indian independence movement. Marries Palani Ammai, the daughter of Paratesiyar Mutaliyar of Perumatur, next to Puvanakiri. Four children are born to this union.

1921 : On 12 September the Brahmin poet Bharathiyar passes away.

1926 : Publication of first collection of poems : Srimayilam Cuppiramaniar Tutiyamutu, a hymn to the god Murukan, a work in the traditional vein.

1928 : Birth of his son, Kopati (real name : Mannar Mannan), on 3 November. (Later, three daughters are born : Sarasuvati, Vasanta, and Ramani). Joins the Self-Respect Tiravita Movement founded by Periyar E.V.Ramasamy.

1929 : Publication of songs and essays in Kutiyarasu and Pakuttarivu [Rationality]. The first poet in Tamil to publish songs on family matters.

1930 : At the Bharathiyar Anniversary, songs entitled : Tesiya kitankal [Patriotic Songs] are published. Bharathidasan’s Tontainataippattu, Katar irattinappattu (the latter were songs in support of the use of katar cloth, the emblem of Swadeshi or self-rule), Sanjivi Parvattin Caral and Taltappattor Samattuvappattu sees the light of day. On 10 December the « Putuvai Murasu » founding ceremony takes place, the poet being the editor of the weekly.

1933 : At the Atheist Conference held under the chairmanship of M. Sinkaravelar, in Chennai, the poet affirms his convictions by signing a document with the words : « I am an undying atheist ».

1934 : On a fullmoon night, the poet sets out together with his friends (P.Givanantan, Kuttusi Kurusami, Kuncitam, Mailai Cinivenkatasami, Mayuram Natarasan, Sami Sitamparanar, Narana Turaikkannan) in the direction of Mamallapuram. The birth of « Mavalippurac celavu » poems.

1935 : The inauguration - for the first time in India - of Sri Cuppiramaniya Parati Kavita Mantalam[Circle]. S.R.Suppiramaniam is placed in charge of the Circle.

1937 : Puratcikkavi kurunkaviyam published.

1938 : Bharathidasan Kavitaikal : Mutal Tokuti, first collection of Bharathidasan’s poems appears with financial support from Katalur Kuttusi Kurusami, Kuncitam Kurusami, and Narayanasami Nayutu. Periyar [E.V.Ramasamy] names him « Puratcik Kavinar Bharathidasan », the title by which he becomes known all over the Tamil territory.

1941 : Etirparata muttam (Kurunkaviyam) [Unexpected Kiss].

1942 : Publication of Kutumpa vilakkau I (Family Lamp).

1943 : The « epic » poem Pantian parisu published.

1944 : Mullai Muttaiya, with the aid of Tirunavukkarasu, sets up a publishing house at 59, Broadway, Madras, with a view to publishing Bharathidasan’s works : Katal ninaivukal [Thoughts of Love], Nalla tirppu (play), Alakin cirippu [Beauty’s Smiles], Amaiti [A Play], Pantian parisu, Etirparata muttam, Irunta vitu, Tamiliyakkam, Bharathidasan Kavitaikal, Kutumpa vilakku II are all published one after the other. The poet traverses Chettinadu in a literary tour- de-force tour. In fact, whenever Bharathidasan pays a visit to Madras, he stays at the publisher’s. The leading literary lights of the day, including C.Anna(thurai) and M.G.R(amachandran), two successive Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu in the sixties to the eighties, call at the publisher’s where they sometimes meet and discourse with Bharathidasan.

1945 : Mullai Muttaiya and Tirunavukkarasu come to Putuvai and give Bharathidasan 4000 rupees, and the poet buys the house situated at 95, Perumal Koil Street in Putuvai in which he lives with his family, since the owner threatens to sell the house and put Bharathidasan out. In return, Bharathidasan writes away in Mullai Muttaiya’s name the rights to eleven of his books. Tamiliyakkam [The Tamil (Tiravita) Movement] (written in one night) and Etu isai published.

1946 : The poet begins the composition of ‘Mullai’ Petals. On July 29; his play Amaiti - Umai [Peace and Dumbness] published. Receives 25.000 rupees worth Golden Parrot Prize from Paventar who dubbs him « Puratcik kavinar » [Poet of the Tamil Movement]. At a meeting headed by the novelist Somasuntarar Bharathiyar, he is bestowed the « Ponnatai » [Golden Shawl]. Through the efforts of the savant Anna(turai) the niti tiratti realised to benefit Bharathidasan. Retires from his teaching post. With the money raised by Annaturai, the poet founds a printery. Mullai Muttaiya publishes a special volume of essays and poetry from various illustrious hands, entitled : « Puratcik kavinar » in Bharathidasan’s honour, which later becomes an essential reference work on the poet.

1947 : Kuyil 1 & 2 appears from Putukkottai. The play Saumiyan and Bharathidasan Attisuti published. Kuyil isaiyamutu appears in Chennai; Kuyil ital is brought out by the poet in Putuvai. Also published Kavinar pesukirar [The Poet Speaks] ( collection of the poet’s speeches). The French authorities ban his journal Kuyil (The Cuckoo), devoted to poetry, after a month of its appearance.

1948 : The following works published : Katala katamaiya? (« epic » poem), Mullaikkatu, Inti etirppup patalkal, Patitta penkal (play), Katalmerkumilikal (« epic » poem), Kutumpa vilakku III, Tiravita tiruppatal, Akattiyan vitta putukkarati.

1949 : Published : Bharathidasan’s second collection of poems; also Ceratantavam, Tamilacciyin katti (« epic » poem).

1950 : Kutumpa vilakku IV and Kutumpa vilakku V published.

1951 : Amiltu etu? - Kalaikkuttiyin katal published.

1954 : Wins elections to the Putuvai Legislative Assembly for a term and becomes its head. Ponkal valttuk kuviyal published. He is made head of State language body at Kulittalai.

1955 : The third collection of poems published.

1956 : Tenaruvi isappatalkal published.

1958 : Grammar for youngsters appears; assumes responsibility of the Tamil Nadu Poets Association. Kuyil kilamai put out as a manuscript.

1959 : Kurincittittu (plays by the poet) published; the play Pisirantaiyar published; from November 1st., the poet writes an explication of Valluvar’s Tirukkural.

1960/1 : Comes to Chennai and decides to produce the film Pantian Parisu. Encounters untold difficulties. Sivaji Ganesan agrees at first to act in the film and then pulls out. Sustaining heavy losses, Bharathidasan is forced to renounce the project. Receives copy of Kamil Zvelebil’s translations of his work into the Czechoslovakian language from the translator.

1962 : Kuyil Kilamai Etu, the journal founded by Bharathidasan in 1948, appears in Chennai on April 15th. World poets’ body formed. Kannaki puratcik kappiyam and Manimekalai venpa published. Rajaji bestows Ponnatai on Bharathidasan on behalf of the Tamil Writers Sangam.

1963 : Panmanittiral published. 72th birthday is celebrated in public. Bharathidasan attempts to film the life of Subramaniya Bharathiyaa in vain.

1964 : Expires on April first at a Chennai public hospital. Next day, is buried on the Putuvai seashore. Lived up to 72 years 11 months and 28 days.

1965 : On April 21st., the inhabitants of Putuvai build a mantapam (memorial pavilion) at the seashore Pappamma Temple cemetery for the poet.

1968 : On the occasion of the Second World Tamil Association Conference, Bharathidasan’s statue is officially unveiled at the Marina Beach in Chennai.

1969 : His play Pisirantaiyar is selected for a prize.

1970 : In March, the latter work is awarded the Sahitya Academy Prize worth 5.000 Rupees.

1971 : Putuvai Assembly officially celebrates Bharathidasan’s birthday on April 29th. The entire year is devoted to celebrations in the poet’s memory. The Putuvai Assembly also buys his house at 95, Perumal Koil Street from his family and declares it a memorial library and museum in his honour.

1972 : On April 29th., the Putuvai Assembly officially unveils a lifesize statue of Bharathidasan.

1975 : The Tamil Nadu Government unveils a painting of Bharathidasan at the Rajaji Mantapam.

1982 : The Bharathidasan University, in the poet’s honour, opens at Tirucirappalli.

1990 : A lifesize statue of the poet is unveiled at the Bharathidasan University by the Chief Minister of the Tamil Nadu state.

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