Confusion reigns over death date of Mahakavi Bharathiyar

As per the information on the stone plaque at the memorial and his death certificate, the Tamil poet passed away on September 12.

Published: 13th September 2023 07:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th September 2023 07:25 AM   |  A+A-

Portrait of Subramania Bharathiyar

Express News Service

THOOTHUKUDI:  Social activists have urged the state government to allay confusion surrounding Mahakavi Bharathiyar's date of death. Born as Subramania Barathi on December 11, 1882, at Ettayapuram in Thoothukudi district, Bharathiyar later became renowned for his patriotic writings during the nation's freedom struggle, and also his poems on women empowerment and eradication of the caste system. He died at the age of 39 on September 12, 1921, but some reports claim that he died on September 11.

The state information and public relations department maintains a memorial for the poet and his house in Ettayapuram. As per the information on the stone plaque at the memorial and his death certificate, the Tamil poet passed away on September 12. However, the state government last year announced September 11 as 'Mahakavi Day' in recognition of Bharathiyar's pioneering contributions to modern Tamil literature.

On Monday (September 11), social welfare and women empowerment minister Geetha Jeevan, Kovilpatti RDO Jane Christy Bai on behalf of the district collector, Public Relations Officer SR Navin Pandian and DMK cadre paid their honours to the life-size statue of Bharathiyar at the memorial.

Activist Muthumurugan, who is attached to the Ettayapuram-based Bharathiyar Memorial Trust, told TNIE that his Trust observed the death anniversary of Bharathiyar on September 11 until 2017. After an RTI response claimed that the poet died on September 12, the then AIADMK government changed the date on the memorial plaque, so they started paying homage on September 12.

Commemorating the poet's 102nd death anniversary this year, Muthumurugan along with 70 students from Mariappa Nadar Middle School, who dressed up as the great Tamil poet, offered floral tributes to the departed leader at a function organised by the Kovilpatti Rotary Club here on Tuesday. "The state government must rectify the death date of the national poet and ensure that the day is commemorated properly across the state," Muthumurugan insisted.

When contacted, District Collector Dr K Senthil Raj said the correct date of death will be ascertained by analysing all available records.

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