Introduction to, “Bharathiyar Poem Translation”

Subramaniya Bharathi, was a 20th century Indian, Tamil poet. He wrote poems in Tamil language which is rich in literature and like most of its contemporary languages, such as Sanskrit or Greek, only the scholars could savor its richness and beauty, which made it difficult for the ordinary person to read and comprehend.

So he wrote poems in a simplified version of Tamil without compromising the richness of the language. Thus anyone with literacy in Tamil could enjoy these poems, without requiring a degree in Tamil literature.

His poems carried a certain amount of energy because his passion runs through them all vividly, as it spans the spectrum of human experience.

In these translations of his poetry, I strive to capture that energy, as I interpret between two culturally and structurally different languages.

The core vocabulary is translated literally as much as possible, keeping with the context of the overall meaning of the poem, while grammatically they move around quite a bit, because of the structural differences between these languages.

I hope I can do justice to Bharathiyar’s works, who was a polyglot and had edited newspapers in Tamil and English languages.

Lekha Murali

Related: Bharathiyar, Tamil Poet with Integrity