Mahakavi Bharathi: How the Legendary Poet Might React to #MeToo?

  • 21 Feb 2020

For the first time in centuries, in the wake of feminism and the #MeToo movement, we witness more and more women come forth to tell their stories of abuse and discrimination. 

In the early 20th century, there was a legendary poet and a man who beautifully captured his vision of 'Pudhumai Penn' in his many poems, at a time where such topics were taboo or even non-existent in literary works. On Mahakavi Bharathi's 136th birthday, we can only wonder what his comments would have been right now, with women empowerment and the fight for equality rapidly reaching its peak!

Looking back at some of his famous poems, we found timeless messages (perhaps his way of talking to the future generation) that allowed us to take a guess at how his reaction will be.

We will just let his poems speak for themselves:

காத லொருவனைக் கைப்பிடித்தே அவன்
 காரியம் யாவினும் கைகொடுத்து
 மாதர றங்கள் பழமையைக் காட்டிலும்
 மாட்சி பெறச்செய்து வாழ்வமடி.

We will fall in love with a man,
and support him in his every deed.
Instead of following the age-old customs of women,
Let us bring glory and clarity to men, while we live our lives.

கற்பு நிலையென்று சொல்லவந்தார் இரு
 கட்சிக்கும் அஃது பொதுவில் வைப்போம்
 வற்புறுத்திப் பெண்ணைக் கட்டிக் கொடுக்கும்
 வழக்கத்தைத் தள்ளி மிதித்திடுவோம். (கும்மி)

The virtue of chastity should be set
common to both the genders,
Let us stamp the practice of
forcing women into wedlocks.

நிமிர்ந்த நன்னடை நேர்கொண்ட பார்வையும்,
நிலத்தில் யார்க்கும் அஞ்சாத நெறிகளும்,
திமிர்ந்த ஞானச் செருக்கும் இருப்பதால்
செம்மை மாதர் திறம்புவ தில்லையாம்;

அமிழ்ந்து பேரிரு ளாமறி யாமையில்
அவல மெய்திக் கலையின்றி வாழ்வதை
உமிழ்ந்து தள்ளுதல் பெண்ணற மாகுமாம்
உதய கன்னி உரைப்பது கேட்டீரோ!

Holding her head high
with a resolute look;
possessing dauntless courage and wisdom,
She never feels subservient.

The emerging modern woman
fabricates her own traits,
by obliterating the customs
of engulfing in murk named ignorance;
and suppresses the routine
of living a melancholic life.

ஆணும் பெண்ணும் நிகரெனக் கொள்வதால்
அறிவி லோங்கி,இவ் வையம் தழைக்குமாம்

The world will prosper in knowledge and intellect if both men and women are deemed equal.

பெண்ணுக்கு ஞானத்தை வைத்தான்-புவி
பேணி வளர்த்திடும் ஈசன்;
மண்ணுக் குள்ளே சிலமூடர் நல்ல
மாத ரறிவைக் கெடுத்தார்.

கண்கள் இரண்டில் ஒன்றைக்-குத்தி
காட்சி கெடுத்திட லாமோ?
பெண்க ளறிவை வளர்த்தால்-வையம்
பெதைமை யற்றிடுங் காணீர்.

Lord Shiva, the immortal, blessed women with immense abilities. But the mortals here kill women's abilities. Does it make sense to gouge out one of your eyes because that is good enough for vision? Only when the women acquire knowledge freely and use it, the world will become a better and a matured place to live.

What are your thoughts on this? Share your favourite poems by Mahakavi Bharathi with us on Facebook or Instagram...

Watch a special dedication by Astro Seithigal for one of the most celebrated Tamil poets:

Source: Lyrical Delights, Payumoli, Quora AlJazeera, Sound Cloud, Art Zolo, Pixels, Pinterest & Facebook

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