C.SUBRAMANIA BHARATI
(S.VIJAYA BHARATI)

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WHISPERS OF IMMORTALITY

O NECE AGAIN, Bharathi’s journalistic talents found a lively outlet, as he became the sub-editor of “swadesamitran”, for the second time. he wrote on many topics, proliferously on politics, on the problems of Indian society, on the fine arts, and he did some creative writing in the form of short story and poetry. In the later years of life, he took a keener interest in world politics, and he wrote about it with a deep understanding of political science, and a wide knowledge of the historical and cultural backgrounds of the nations of the world on whom he was writing. He was deeply concerned with Indian freedom movement, as this was his primary ideal. This ideal became the pivotal point, the centre around which international politics wheeled for Bharathi.

Bharati discussed the problems of the British Government in its dealings with India, Ireland and other colonies with an eloquence characteristic of Burke. He never hesitated to expressed whatever he thought was right even if his expressed opinions hampered his career or life.

Bharati’s knowledge of the happenings around him, and all over the world was accurate and detailed. As a journalist, who had to deal with international matters, he read almost all the English newspapers, especially those published from England. He discussed in his articles many matters relating to the freedom of India, its economic, political, artistic and spiritual growth, in comparison with other nations, who were caught in a similar predicament.

He argued with British Government from all possible angles, telling them how it was important and urgent that the British should make India free. In an article entitled Ireland and India, Bharati elucidated how the great force of dharama spreading throughout the world was capable of destroying the evil forces, and that it was important the British should realize the force of dharama as the ultimately winning force:

We, Indians, would like to stress this point to Mr.Lloyd George: you have been repressing the spirit of freedom of Ireland for many centuries by raising war again and again. Ireland is a small country. In fact, even now Ireland could subdued in war by England.

But, because of the great force of dharma thought the world, it has become impossible for England to deny Ireland her freedom.

Ours is a country which was well-versed in Vedanta as early as five thousand years ago, it consists of thirty corers of people; even today it leads the civilizations of the world though Jagdish Chandra Bose, and so on; when are you going to grant freedom to India which is incomparable in its glory in the history of the entire world? (July 19, 1921).

Bharati believed that India could lead the world in many respects, for it had the spiritual strength necessary for such leadership, and possessed great qualities as a nation. He thought that the world needed our help both in spiritual and material matters, and so he emphasized the importance of freedom without which the greatness of India will not be revealed. He was also quite sure that the way in which India was fighting for here freedom, the non-violent method, was a spiritual weapon capable of finally serving its purpose. In an article entitled Swariyam, he compares the various methods by which the United States, Ireland and India fought for their freedom. On July 4, 1775, the United States was freed by declaring war against England and Ireland won by her revolt for freedom. India as was characteristic of her civilized nature employed peaceful, non-violent methods to achieve her freedom. Bharati concludes his article by asking King George V to give India her freedom immediately as it was the only nation which fought though peaceful means.

World War I had a great impact on Bharati as it was the case with leaders the world over. In addition to the consequences which other nations suffered, India had the special disadvantage of postponement of consideration of her freedom. Bharati who had a frisky temperament was annoyed by the sluggishness of the Government in running India’s affairs. He suggested to the public in the year 1916, showing them the examples of Ireland and Poland that the Indians too should struggle harder for their freedom, even as the World War was being fought, that hundreds of thousands of people should sing and send an appeal to the British Parliament asking that India be made free immediately. This appeal was dated May 25, 1916.

Bharati was equally concerned with the freedom of spirit of all human beings, and was eager to fight slavery in any form in any part of the world. He thought that the highest civilisation for a nation, or for an individual, was to forsake a life of restrictions. As far as India was concerned, it was in a perpetual state of unrest under foreign rule; while the people led a life or restrictions without any fundamental rights, their inner self like Bharati’s must have yearned to be free.

Bharati wanted to build up a world-republic, an internationalism that granted quality to all human beings. He believed that a true republic was established where God was the only Master. He sings of the glory of the nations which enjoyed freedom and democracy, and of the need for destroying slavery in any form anywhere in the world. There was no happier moment for Bharati that when he sang the fall of the Tsa’s rule in the Russian revolution, and the freedom of the Russian people:

The Might Tsar, as the Himalayas, has fallen,

The conspirators around him who lied though times, violating dharma have fallen in quick disarray.

This fall is as the fall of mighty trees in the forest which are uprooted by the tempest, making of the forest mere firewood.

Life of the people as they themselves order it,

A law to uplift the life of the common man,

Now are there no bonds of slavery;

No slaves exist no.

Kali Yuga, as a ruined wall, did fall,

Krutha Yuga established, reigns in glory now.

His desire for freedom extended from international and national matters to combating common evil practices in society, practiced every day by ignorant people. The intuition of the Indian women who worked as slave-laborers in the Fiji cane fields excited the poet’s compassion, and he prayed to Shakti for the welfare of these women.

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Bharati lived in Thambu Chetty Street when he first came to Madras, and later moved to his residence in Thulasingaperumal Koil Street in Triplicane. This street is directly behind the Parthasarathi Swami temple. It was a blessing for Bharati to live there, as he visited the temple every day praying for spiritual enlightenment. The beach was nearby too, and Bharati loved to walk on the sands in early mornings or late evenings.

Increasingly, Bharati’s preoccupation with living eternally, with immortality in this world, incased. He mad a trip to Karungalpayam in Erode during this period, ;and spoke at the anniversary celebrations of the local library on the possibilities of eternal life in this world On August 4,1921, he wrote an article in “ Swadesamitran ” describing his Erode visit, and on the problem of conquering death and living in eternity. In a poem addressed to the god of death, Yama, (“Kalanukka Uraitah”) Bharati wrote that he would never let death come anywhere near him, and that he would kick death with his foot should death dare approach him. It may be surmised that Bharati was becoming sub-consciously aware of the approach of his own death..

The few months before his death, Bharati was completely preoccupied with devotional though, surrendering all of his thinking to Shakti. The story of Prahalda who had unwavering faith in Lord Narayana, who defied his own father and conquered death caused by him held special appeal to Bharati. Shortly before he died, eh wrote a poem as a conversation between the wicket\d father Hiranya and the devoted son Prahada, a poem of rare faith and beauty. The father threatens his son with all forms of torture, and the son constantly and willingly replies to all threat as Om Namo Narayanaya.

Bharati’s death came about in an unusual manner, too. He was in the habit of feeding fruit to the temple elephant at Parthasarathy Swamy temple during his daily visit to the temple. In this fateful day, the elephant had a spell of rut, and in spite of advice from bystanders Bharati went close to the elephant in his usual fashion. The elephant pushed him to the ground, and as if ashamed of his maltreatment of a friend, stood completely still. Kuvali Kannan who heard about Bharati’s accident ran to the poet’s rescuer, and retrieved him from amonth the four legs of the beast.

Bharati became weakened by the shock of this experience, and was afflicted with a stomach ailment soon after. He passed away on the night of September 11, 1921, fully aware of his death, and dressed in his clothes,., the black coat, and the turban.

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