Quotes from the Greatest Tamil Poet Bharati

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Compiled by Santanam Swaminathan; Post No 742 dated 11th December 2013.
11th December is Bharati’s Birth Day

Bharathiyar was born on 11 December 1882; Died on 11th September 1921.

Quotes about Bharati:

“Bharati kindled the souls of men by million to a more passionate love of freedom and a richer dedication to the service of the country”—Poet Sarojini Naidu

“Bharati is not only the poet of Tamil Nadu, he belongs also to the whole of India. His verses should be published in all the languages”—Jawaharlal Nehru, First Prime Minister of India.

Bharati’s vastitudes can be known only when the poems of the great one, are translated in to the languages of the world”- Poet Bharatidasan

“In the course of his evolution from Shellydasan as he used to describe himself earlier, to Saktidasan ( Devotee of Goddess Shakti), Bharati reflected the great change which transformed India, a British dependency into a self reliant power”- Prof. K.Swminathan

(Bharati was influenced by English poets Shelly and Byron. Later he changed his name from Shelly Dasan to Shaktidasan).

Bharati was the greatest of the modern Tamil poets. No one has surpassed him in the past 125 years. He was a great patriot, devoted Hindu and ardent supporter of Tamil Language. His poems touch all the subjects from Astronomy to Zoology. His poem on Halley’s Comet is beautiful. He has sung about all the domestic animals. He composed poems on world leaders like Mazini and Indian freedom fighters such as Gandhi, B.G.Tilak and Dadabai Nauroji. All Tamil poets and greatest Sanskrit poet Kalidasa– are all in his poems. His poems are vast. No one can translate his poems. The beauty of his pomes is lost in translation. But for Non Tamils it will give some idea about his poems. He was rightly called Amara Kavi ( Immortal Poet). He knew Tamil, English, French, Hindi and Sanskrit.


Here are some samples from ‘Bharati Patalkal’ published by Tamil University, Thanjavur, Edited by Sekkizar Adippodi Dr T N Ramachandran. It contains English translations of Bharati poems by several eminent writers including Dr TNR.

Great Upanishads

Himachal is our mountain
The world hath not its fellow;
Ganga is our fountain
Pellucid, sweet and mellow.
Our Upanishads are twelve
Unknown to any other clime
Deep into our minds they delve,
And soar aloft sublime
Praise we Bharat, golden fair,
Our own land beyond compare! (Tanslated by TNR)
(In Tamil Mannum Imaya Malai engal Maliye——–)

On Liberty
1.Come, that we may sing
For Freedom’s bliss is ours;
Come, that we may dance
For Liberty is ours!

2.A Brahmin no more will be hailed
As “Lord, Lord” again
No more a white man in our land
As “Master” shall remain;
No more to those who receive
Of such their alms, we bow,
Or bend to those who us deceive
Never from Now!
(In Tamil aaduvome Pallup Paaduvome; Paarppaanai ayar endra kaalamum poche…………)


Our Mother
1.When was our mother born—
Who can hazard a guess?
Not even the learned that discern
What happened in the days of yore.

2.Though our Mother’s age
No one can compute,
Alone on earth does she shine
For ever in virgin bloom.

3.Three hundred million*
Her faces are;
But all, all of them
Throb with one vibrant life.

4. Eighteen are the languages
That she speaks
But animating them all
Is only one thought.

(First 4 stanzas of 12 stanzas translated by S Ramakrishnan ( SRK)
*When Bharati composed this poem the population of India was 300 million.
(In Tamil Thondru Nikaznthathu anaiththum Arinthitum…….)

On Halley’s Comet
1.Like a palm tree set on a millet plant,
With a growing tail on a little star,
You blaze forth in kinship with eastern moon
Oh, lustrous comet! I bid you welcome

2.You range over countless crores of Yojanas
They say your endless tail wrought of gas
The softness of which is indeed peerless

3. They say that yourtail touches the earth too
An you fare forth with no harm to the poor;
The wise talk of your myriad marvels.
( I have given only 3 stanzas from 7 stanzas of translation by Dr T N Ramachandran)
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In Praise of Saraswati
She dwells in the white lotus
And the sound the Vina makes;
In the poet’s heart whose song
Our inmost being takes;
She is the light at the end
Of the tunnels the Vedas explore;
And of the frank and compassionate words
Of sages, the essence and core.
(First stanza of the 10 Stanza poem translated by Prof.P S Sundaram)
(In Tamil Vellai Thaamarai Puuvinil IruppaL……….)

Advice to Children
Fear not at all my little child
When you meet with evil doers;
Smite them and kick them, oh my child!
And lo, at their face you shall spit.

When thronging sorrows assail us
We should drop not, my little child;
God is there full of compassion
To quell all troubles oh my child!
(Tanslation by Dr TNR; 14 stanza poem)

( In Tamil Paathakam Seyvoraik Kandaal Bayam Kollalaakaathu paappaa………Odi Vilaiyaatu Paappaa)

His poems Panchali Sabhadam (Panchali’s Vow from Maha Bharata), Kannan songs (about Lord Krishna) and Koel Paatu ( Blackbird’s Song) are all great additions to Tamil literature. His songs have been used in lot of Tamil feature films. His name is a house hold name in Tamil Nadu. He simplified the language and style and gave a new direction to Tamil. His name will live as long as the Tamil language exists. In Sanskrit they used to say ‘his name will be on earth as long as the sun and moon shines’. Let Bharati’s name shine as long as the sun and moon shine.)


My earlier articles on Bharati:
1.சொல்லில் உயர்வு தமிழ்ச் சொல்லே!
2.பாரதியின் பேராசை
3.பாரதியுடன் 60 வினாடி பேட்டி
4.பயமே இல்லாத பாரதி
5.பாரதி பாட்டில் பகவத் கீதை
6.பாரதி வாழ்க
7.பாரதி நினைவுகள்
8.பாரதி பாட்டில் பழமொழிகள்
(9) பேய்கள் பற்றி பாரதி & விவேகாநந்தர்
(10) சிட்டுக் குருவியிடம் பாரதி கற்ற பாடம்
(11). வாழ்க்கையில் வெற்றிபெற பாரதி அட்வைஸ்

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