Subramania Bharathi (December 11, 1882 - September 11, 1921) was a well-known Tamil poet, independence fighter and reformer. Known as Mahakavi Bharathi, he is celebrated as one of India's greatest poets. Bharathi was prolific and adept in both the prose and poetry forms, and his rousing compositions helped rally the masses to support the Indian independence movement in South India. Bharathi lived during an eventful period of Indian history; his contemporaries included other prominent leaders of the Indian independence movement such as Mahatma Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Sri Aurobindo and V V S Aiyar.
Bharathi joined as Assistant Editor of the Swadeshamitran, a Tamil daily in 1904. By April 1907, he had started and along with M P T Acharya, edited the Tamil weekly India and the English newspaper Bala Bharatham. These papers not only served the purpose of enlightening the masses on the affairs of the nation, but also were a means of expressing Bharathi's creativity, which began to peak during this period. Bharathi started to publish his poems regularly in these editions. From complex religious hymns to rousing nationalist anthems, from contemplations on the relationship between God and Man to songs on the Russian and French revolutions, Bharathi's subjects were truly diverse.
His poetry expressed a progressive, reformist ideal. His powerful imagery and the vigour of his verse have come to symbolise Tamil culture in many respects. Bharathi famously espoused greater freedom and respect for women. Bharathi also fought against the caste system in the Hindu society. Although born into an orthodox Brahmin family, he gave up his own caste identity.
In Madras, in 1908, he organised a public meeting to celebrate Swaraj (independence) Day'. His nationalistic poems Vanthe Matharam, Enthayum Thayum, Jaya Bharath were printed and distributed free to the audience. No wonder, he is rightly referred to as the National Poet of India.