Story of Bharathi memorial

Several years ago, I went with a couple of friends of mine to Ettayaapuram; we visited the Brindavanam of Muththuswami Dikshitar and the memorial of Bharathi; the kritis of the former and the poems of the latter were immortalised by DKP, and it seemed somehow fitting that their memorials should be so close by.

Sriram Venkatkrishnan, in his Encore piece writes about the Bharathi memorial foundation stone laying ceremony; the piece is accompanied by a nice photo of Rajaji addressing the gathering, and a facsimile of Gandhi’s one line letter, written in Tamil, giving his blessings to the efforts of Bharathi memorial. From the piece, I understand that DKP was also present at the ceremony and sang the songs of the poet.

Venkatkrishnan, in his piece, also traces the history of how Bharathi’s songs were banned by the British as being seditious, and how, slowly his songs caught the attention of nationalists and artists and became part of the repertoire of every household in Tamland. There is also a mention of the controversy associated with Kalki’s pronouncement about Bharathi as compared to Tagore:

There was the odd controversy however. Writing at around this time, ‘Kalki’ Krishnamurthy had, for reasons best known to himself, compared Tagore to Bharati to the former’s advantage and had declared that Bharati could not be compared to him.This resulted in enormous protests and bitter debates. In many ways, the effort that Kalki took to make the Bharati memorial a reality was an act of expiation.

A nice piece!

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