Subramania Bharati is the greatest Tamil poet of the twentieth century. His name shines in the annals of Indian history as an ardent patriot. Subramania Bharati was born on December 11, 1882, in a middle class family in Ettayapuram, Tamil Nadu. His father was Chinnaswami Iyer and mother Lakshmiammal. His father wanted him to be a mathematical wizard. But he could not make the boy learn mathematics. Instead, subhiah loved language, literature and poetry.
Once eleven year old subhiah was invited to the court of the rajah of Ettayapuram to recite his poems. The noted poets gathered at the court were amazed at his recitation. They gave him the title of ‘Bharati’, which is the name of Saraswati, the goddess of learning and speech. Thus he came to be known as Subramania Bharati.
Subbiah was married when he was just fourteen. His bride was seven years old chellammal. But the matrimonial tie did not extinguish his hunger for knowledge. When he was sixteen he left for Banaras. His four year stay brought a great change in his personality. The seed of patriotism were sowed deep in his mind. His poems were on the lips of the listeners. Spreading like wild fire, the songs soon went to the heart of every individual.
He became assistant editor of a Tamil daily. Bharati’s patriotic writings became more and more powerful. Yet no one came forward to publish them. They afraid of the government’s wrath. So Bharati began to publish his own weekly called India in 1907. In it the aired his opinions freely and the public read them eagerly. This British government could not digest. They insisted upon him to leave British Territory and stay in Pondicherry. The Britishers would confiscate everything sent to him. Aurobindo was the only source of inspiration and help to him.
After a decade in exile when Bharati was back he was arrested, but was released with the orders not to move out of the locality he stayed on. The poor poet was again at the height of his popularity when at 38 the elephant of the temple, which he always offered a coconut, struck him with his trunk. The singer recovered little but went to eternal slumber on September 12, 1921, his voice was stilled forever. Death could tear his body off not his soul.