Int’l Bharathi Festival 2020: PM echoes young India, women empowerment in tribute to Bharathiyar

New Delhi: On Friday, 11th December, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the International Bharathi Festival 2020 through video conferencing and paid tribute to the Bharathiyar on his Jayanti. The festival was organised by Vanavil Cultural Centre to celebrate the 138th birth anniversary of Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathi. Prime Minister Modi congratulated the scholar Seeni Viswanathan for receiving the Bharathi Award, presented during the event.

According to a press communication from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), PM Narendra Modi said describing Subramania Bharathi is very difficult, adding that Bharathiyar cannot be linked to any single profession or dimension. He was a poet, writer, editor, journalist, social reformer, freedom fighter, humanist and much more, PM Modi said.

The Prime Minister remarked that one can only marvel at the body of work of the great poet, his poems, his philosophy and his life, and recalled the Mahakavi’s close link with Varanasi. Praising Bharathi, the Prime Minister said in a short life of 39 years he wrote so much, did so much, and excelled in so much. His writings are a guiding light to us towards a glorious future, the PM added.

The Prime Minister stated that there is much that our youth today can learn from Subramania Bharathi; most importantly, to be courageous. Fear was unknown to Subramania Bharathi, the PM said. Quoting Bharathi, “Fear I have not, fear I have not, even if all the world opposes me,” the Prime Minister said that he sees this spirit in young India today when they are at the forefront of innovation and excellence. He added that India’s start-up space is filled with fearless youth who are giving something new to humanity. Such a ‘can do’ spirit will bring wonder for our nation and our planet, he observed.

The Prime Minister said Bharathiyar believed in a healthy mix between the ancient and the modern, remarking that Bharathi saw the wisdom in staying connected with one’s roots as well as looking towards the future and considered Tamil Language and motherland India as his two eyes. Bharathi sang songs of the greatness of ancient India, the greatness of the Vedas and Upanishads, Indian culture, tradition, and its glorious past, said Modi. But at the same time, he also warned that simply living in the past glory is not enough, and urged the need to develop a scientific temper, a spirit of inquiry, and march towards progress, he added.

The Prime Minister said Mahakavi Bharathiyar’s definition of progress had a central role for women, and that one of the most important visions was that of independent and empowered women. Bharathiyar wrote that women should walk with their head held high while looking people in the eye, the PM said, adding that the Government is inspired by this vision and is working to ensure women-led empowerment. In every sphere of the Government’s working, there has been important given to the dignity of women, the Prime Minister declared, stating that today, over 15 crore women entrepreneurs are funded by schemes like MUDRA Yojana, and that women are becoming part of the armed forces with permanent commissioning. The poorest of the poor women who used to face problems of lack of safe sanitation, are benefited by over 10 crore safe and hygienic toilets, he said, adding that they do not have to face problems any more. “This is the era of New India’s Nari Shakti. They are breaking barriers and making an impact. This is New India’s tribute to Subramania Bharathi,” said Prime Minister Modi.

The Prime Minister remarked that Bharathiyar understood that any society which is divided will not be able to succeed. At the same time, he wrote about the emptiness of political freedom which does not address the social inequities and does not address social ills, he observed. Quoting Bharathi, the PM said, “Now we will make a rule, and enforce it ever if ever one man faces starvation the world has to atone on pain of destruction.” The Prime Minister said his teachings are a strong reminder to us to remain united and committed to the empowerment of every single individual, especially the poor and marginalised.

The Prime Minister concluded by saying that there is a lot that youth have to learn from Bharathi, expressing his wish that everyone in the country reads his works and is inspired by him. He praised Vanavil Cultural Center for their work in spreading the message of Bharathiyar and was confident that the festival will have productive deliberations which will help steer India into a new future.


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