A Living Tamil Poet and Social Reformer
[C. Rajagopalachari]

Whilst patriotism, revolting against denationalization and realizing the special mission of India in the world, attempts to reconstruct our society on true national ideals, there is a misguided tendency in some cases to revert to so called “Dharmas” of comparatively recent periods, which till a few years ago, it had been taken for granted that the unanimous voice of thinking men had once for all adjudged as evil. To this unfortunate tendency Mr. C. Subramania Bharati is a note worth exception and his recent article in The commonweal of October 6, is a useful contribution to the literature of Indian Nationalism in its attitude towards social reform.

Mr. C. Subramania Bharati of Pondicherry is one of those early sons of fresh-born Nationalism in Madras, who sought the exiles refuge in France against the arm of the law of sedition in British India, and have found there an immunity, which with its ceaseless struggle and reparation from all that was dear, some of them would fain exchange, had it not been took, late for trial and even imprisonment if found to deserve it. Since going to Pondicherry, Mr. Bharati has been devoting himself entirely to National reform though Tamil Poetry, where in he has succeeded in combining simplicity of diction and the use of the living and spoken tongue with the beauty, purity and purposefulness of the early classics.

The worth of this remarkable patriot and poet of Madras has no been at all sufficiently recognized by the people for the love of whom he has made irrevocable and unmeasured sacrifice. The call of the Mother has been head so well by this poet, that the false love that misleads other and lesser men does not mislead him. To those who have followed the writings of Mr. Subramania bharati, there is nothing new in the views expressed in his recent article against caste, an institution with which some of our other Nationalists are so please and our lost faith in which they seek to revive.

In an ode to Sarasvati,he has sung; O Thou, the light of whose eyes is the Sruti, Thou who hast put on those eyes the black paint of many commentaries.

“The black paint of which our ladies are very fond, in moderation beautifies but in excess in renders ugly and may even injure and destroy the sight”, as the Author says in a note- Read again the following lines from a poem on true knowledge.

Blow, conch! Bow that the men are fools and the scripture they quote is mere prattle of madness. Who fondly believe that the realms of shiva or Vaikuntam may be attained in a life after death.

Bow, conch! Blow that they alone are blessed who find joy in True knowledge by seeking salvation even here in this world, in this life and in this present.

Nothing can be clearer than the following from PANCHALI SHAPATAM what is mere falsehood? A mere petty custom, and a habit of ignorance, this worth on has accepted for Dharam,. Alas! Throughout the ages, thus has many a one among us found misery. Fools! Does falsehood become Truth by mere age! You appeal to the past, O-Fools! But how long back do you go for your past? The past is three thousand years ago, and three score years before as well

Do you think the countless multitude that crowded like flies on this Earth in the dead past were all sages? Do you think that before you were born there were no fools on this Earth?

No, from the beginning of Time, among the myriad lives that appeared here, unnumbered like the raindrops rain-drops in the clouds, ignorance and Evil always existed.

Alas, in this land of Bharata, unmeasured has been the evil wrought by ignorance that mistook falls custom for Dharama and the farces of liars for scripture.

From a call to worship to Sarasvati, the following lines are taken, than which we can find no more elevating an incentive to Endeavour, or a clearer condemnation of dead and empty forms;

Grieve not for that which is past, come let us work to end our ignorance. Propel of this fair Tamil land! Come let us join and offer prayer to this Goddess.

But think not it is easy to make this worship; for it consists not in piling up of the books and throwing of sandal and flowers on them, muttering the words of prayer. That many be the orthodox way, but not true worship of my goddess. Shall we light the light of learning in every house?

Shall every street have its school or even two?

Shall every town and village in the land have numberless places where learning can be had?

Shall it be hard to find a place in our land where the men are without learning? And shall such a place be prepared to be consumed buy Fire rather than by such i\gnorance4?

This is the way to seek the favour of this Goddess, this mother of Mine – this Destroyer of all evil.

C. Rajagopalachari


The Commonweal

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