Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bharati's legacy

Long after Subramanya Bharati's death, his poetic legacy continued to be contested by the eminent literary personalities of the time. A look at the debate.

When Bharati passed away on September 11, 1921, The Hindu carried a tribute to Bharati from S. Satyamurthi: “Had he been born in England he would have been the poet laureate and been adored by his race. Had he born in any other free country, he would have risen to such heights of eminence that he would have lived longer and enriched his language and race more than he was able to do here. Had he born even in Bengal, he would have been a Rabindranath Tagore. Those who know his poems will know I am indulging in no exaggeration. But born in India and in Tamil India Subramania Bharati had to spend the best part of an all too short life an exile from those who were near and dear to him. No wonder that he pined and suffered and has gone to a premature grave. So long however as the Tamil language lives and there is a spark of patriotism in Tamil India, Subramania Bharati's songs will live.”

There were very few at the funeral, and V. Chakkarai Chettiar, Krishnswamy Sharma and Ramachandra Aiyar spoke in Tamil while Surendranath Arya paid tributes in Telugu. The pyre was lit by Harihara Sharma, a relative and while the mortal remains were consumed, the fire he lit in the minds of the people continued to glow.

However, due recognition to Bharati came much later, but even then with such debates that made one feel that Tamil India had not remembered Bharati well enough!

Full report here Hindu

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