Thursday, February 17, 2005

The poetic spirit of Bharathi

(Backgrounder, in case I am losing someone on what I am talking about - Mahakavi Bharathiyar, popularly known as Bharathi, is one of the most talented poetic minds that Tamil Nadu has ever produced. Bharathiyar kavidaigal (poems of Bharathi) span a wide variety of topics and are especially famous for its spirit of freedom. Bharathi didn’t live long, but his poems continue to ring in our lives, in different forms.)

Tamil, as a language, is something I feel extremely passionate about. Well written Tamil pieces – essays or stories and poems, or for that matter, well written lyrics in movie songs, find a great fan in me. That way, Bharathi’s Tamil has been a source of inspiration, a wonderful means of relaxation for me and I possess this small book of Bharathiyar kavidaigal that I keep going back to, whenever I find the time.

Most of my exposure to his poems, have been through film songs. Nevertheless, I have heard many of his songs being sung by the all time great Carnatic singer, Late M.S. Subulakshmi. I haven’t read all of his works but certain lines amaze me because of their simple yet powerful construction.

Many of his poems carry a burning desire to see a free India, as in,
“Endru thaniyum indha sudhandhira dhaagam?
Endru madiyum engal adimayin mogam?”

Or cases where he would describe the pride of being an Indian, “Paarukulley nalla naadu, engal bharatha naadu”.Powerful words of his would inspire anybody to fight for what one truly deserved.

A set of Bharathi’s songs are entirely dedicated to Goddess Shakthi, on whom he bestows a beautiful form, completely through his poetic prowess. Shakthi for him is “Nitya Kalyani”, also the destroyer of evil, and one who could bless our lives with goodness – “Thunbamiladha nilaye Shakthi; thookam illa kan vizhipey Shakthi” and there are many, many more.

Bharathi was a visionary. He wanted a whole new, free world for women. “Pen Vidhuthalai vendum” he said years and years ago. “Manadhil Urudhi Vendum, Vakkiniley Inimai Vendum”, he wrote on the need for courage in one’s mind also emphasising that politeness should mark one’s speech. A brilliant piece and one of my personal favourites.

Bharati’s sense of romance is mind blowing. Kannama figures as the fictitious lover in many of his poems. The passion with which he describes Kannama and the love for her is exceptional in, “Suttum Vizhi chuddar thaan kannama, suriyar chandirano?”. If that sounded familiar, this is the song sung by Hariharan, in Kandukonden kandukonden. Again, one of my favourites. “Chinanjiru Kiliye Kannama..”, she is the little girl here. “..selva Kalanjiyame” talks about the sweet little darling that she is.

His poems also bear a testimony to the deep thinker that he was. “Nirpadhuvey, Nadapadhuvey, Parapadhuvey..Neengal ellam kanalin neero, pala thotra mayakangalo?” he questions the reality of what we see around us. Are they Maya, mere illusions? My third favourite piece, and it features as a song in the movie “Bharathi”, the song being sung by Harish Raghavendra.

And that just isn’t all about Bharathi. There is much more to him than what I know. As someone, who has begun reading and interpreting him more seriously, I recognize that his poems are a journey into realising certain truths of life. Bharathiyin thamizhil moozhguvadhai kaatilum perinbamum uundo? Reading and comprehending him is truly a matter of pleasure. He IS marvellous.

(if I sent people mad, with all those tamil quotes, am sorry, but if you could understand them, they are a real treat! I consciously refrained from translating them, because it would do utter damage to the beauty of his work.)


piggy said...

The most inspiring of his kavithai to me is:

தேடி சோறு தினந்தின்று - பல
சின்னஞ் சிறுகதைகள் பேசி - மனம்
வாடித் துன்பமிக உழன்று -பிறர்
வாடப் பலசெயல்கள் செய்து நரை
கூடிப் கிழப்பருவம் எய்தி - கொடுங்
கூற்றுக் கிரையெனப் பின் மாயும்- பல
வேடிக்கை மனிதரை போலே - நான்
வீழ்வேன் என்று நினைத்தாயோ!!

As of his songs in movie நல்லதோர் வீணை செய்தே அதை நலம் கெட புழுதியில் எறிவதுண்டொ.. from வறுமையின் நிறம் சிகப்பு. Though Bharathi's frustation is not captured well in the song, the lyrics is amazing.

reNUka said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
reNUka said...

Came through ur comment at sriram's. was interested in ur blog for the following reasons: we share the same industry (comunications/media), can very well smell the tamil (read chennai) aroma in ur posts, the marriage scenes, and a lot more... sure ur blog is a serendipity!!! will treasure it :-) please do find time to visit my blog.

Anupama Viswanathan said...

Well, piggy, it would be great, if you could write that on english, curse my luck, my browser is not recognizing the special fonts, i guess they are in tamil, right??
Would be great if you could post that again..

Vani Viswanathan said...

tell me what whatever piggy said means ya...i can't understand! this time i'm gonna learn tamil properly...naan solvadhu ilakkiya thamizhai patri!

REFLEX said...

WOW. First time visit to ur blog and It impressed me a lot coz of this Bahrathi's blog. I have the same poem of Bharathiar which piggy has mentioned in jpg format. Please feel free to mail me and I will send it to u people.

I read one poem and noticed he is humourous too.
In Kannan pattu " Engirundho vandhan " song, he narrated in one line that the reason given by his servant for his abscence is "Panayil thel irundhu pallal kadithathu enban".

REFLEX said...

my mail id is : manpath2001 at gmail dot com

piggy said...

I am sorry. I din'know that tamil fonts would be a problem. Anyhow for the song, I have it in the front page of my homepage

The song that I mentioned was "Nallathor veenai seithe adhai nalam keda puzhuthiyil erivadhundo..." from Varumayin Niram Sikappu.

Anupama Viswanathan said...

thanks piggy..very nice and powerful one..I saw it on ur website..
Reflex, thanks for extending help! I got to read it...

adarsh said...

do u have the video of "Suttum Vizhi chuddar thaan kannama, suriyar chandirano" song?