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Subramania Bharati (1882-1921), a renowned poet, journalist, writer and freedom fighter was someone who felt strongly about woman empowerment even when the subject was considered taboo during the times that he lived.

 

It is said that Bharati’s command over Tamil poetry was such that once he started with the lines of a poem, the words would start flowing profusely. He was a great nationalist who relentlessly worked to espouse the cause of India’s freedom from British rule through his writings. He was also a great connoisseur of music. Bharati was often hailed as the “Desiya Kavi” (National Poet). He loved his mother tongue Tamil dearly.

Bharati was not just a legend; he was a literary giant. It is sad that today’s generation does not know much about the contributions of the poet in India’s struggle for freedom from British rule. As a visionary and a pioneer of modern thought, it is amazing that Bharati had the guts to speak about topics like eradication of caste system and empowerment of women when it was considered blasphemy to do so. Bharati’s poems are a true reflection of his personality.

 

Subramania Bharati and woman empowerment.

 

The word “Puthumai Penn” (the Liberated woman) was coined by him. Bharati described this woman as someone who had the freedom to make her choices and was able to free herself from the shackles of mindless customs and prejudices. In one of his poems, Bharati mentions that God created this world and gave high intellect to women but some fools in this world were hell-bent on destroying this intellect. He strongly felt that the world would be a far better place if women were given their rightful place and respected.

Through his poems on women empowerment, Bharati wished to trigger societal change. Words were his weapons against injustices. His pen became the sword for writing about atrocities against women and the up liftment of women. He says, “If men and women are considered as equals then this universe will flourish by achieving excellence in knowledge and wisdom”.

 

Bharati was the greatest exponent of the cause of status of women in Indian society. He believed that women were equal to men in their mental faculties and that they shall rule the land and shall also take up making laws. Bharati argued that woman could be the true leaders of national development.

 

How did Bharati describe the modern Indian woman?

 

The modern Indian women would question age old ideas that were irrelevant to contemporary society. She would be educated, cultured and brave and travel all over the world to bring prosperity and development to her motherland. The modern Indian women will work hard to fight false beliefs and superstitions. She will walk along with men to bring true glory to the nation and this will please the gods.

 

The celebrated pet felt that modern Indian woman was someone who had knowledge and power as weapon that defined and shaped her identity. He believed that a nation could become strong only when women are empowered and are given their rightful place in the society.


In his poem “Puthumai Penn”, he pens a line that means – the world will flourish with knowledge when we realise that mean and women are equal. He strongly felt that women should develop the courage to make their own choices. He saw women as an incarnation of Sakti (Goddess Sakti). Brahmin women always walked a few steps behind their husbands. But Bharati dismissed all these social barriers and insisted that his wife Chellammai walk along with him Hand-in-hand.

 

Manadhi Uruthi Vendum” (A women needs to have a strong resolve) says Bharati. In one of his poems, he says, “A women should be brave and courageous and should not fear anyone. A steadfast look in the eyes that reflects confidence, a woman represents a symbol of wisdom.”

 

To summarise

 

It is not an exaggeration to say that Subramania Bharati’s words and his attitude reshaped the identity of Tamilians across the world. His command over the Tamil language was astounding. His social consciousness is very inspiring for the present generation. The grandness of his vision, sadly, remained underestimated during the times that he lived. He was way ahead of his times. The very fact that all literary awards continue to elude him is a gross reflection of the times that we are living in where true merit is seldom given the respect and recognition that is deserves.

 

Bharati, if he were alive today, would have been happy with the progress of women in India in general and South India in particular.  He strongly espoused the cause of education of the girl child and was deeply pained by the atrocities against women by her own kith and kin.

 

Though Bharati died at the early age of thirty nine, his poems continue to inspire millions he was a real-life hero whose extraordinary power lay in his poetry. He spoke about the freedom and equality of the Indian women at a time when women were considered to be  subservient to men , Women were considered fit only to serve their role as a dutiful wife.  During those times, speaking about women’s rights was considered an anathema.  But Bharati was intrepid in questioning those processes.  Bharati strongly believed that India could prow as a nation only by empowering its women.

 

Grandness of his vision sadly remained underestimated during the times that he lived. He was way ahead of his times. The very fact that all literally awards continue to elude him is a gross reflection of the times that we are living in where true merit is seldom given the respect and recognition that it deserves.

 

Bharati, If he were alive today would have been happy with the progress of the women in India in general and South India in particular. He strongly espoused the cause of education of the girl child and was deeply pained by the atrocities against women by her own kith and kin.

 

Though Bharati died at the age of thirty nine, His poems continues to inspire million. He was a real life hero whose extraordinary power lay in his poetry. He spoke about the freedom and equality of the Indian women at a time when women were considered to be subservient to men. Women were considered fit only to serve their role as a dutiful wife. During those times ,speaking about women’s right was considered an anathema. But Bharati was intrepid in questioning those thought processes. Bharati strongly believed that India could grow as a nation only by empowering its women.

 

His funeral was attended by only a few people. He lived in penury most of his life. Yet his poetry continues to stand testimony to his competence, sincerity of purpose, patriotism and progressive thoughts that were much ahead of their times.

 

Bharati’s poems are more relevant today than ever before as women continue to battle atrocities against them. Women may have become more liberated today than before but prejudices against women continues to exit in our society. It is time that we paid obeisance to the writing of this great poet and strive to work hard so that women gets the place that she deserves. True equality of human beings can result only when men and women are treated on par. Hence it is all the more important for women to dependent on men. Women also make great leaders as some of them who have proved their mettle in the political and business world have demonstrated. 

 


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06/07/2019
More by :  Valliyoor Satya
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