BHARATHIYIN PERARIVU: Era. Eramamurthy; Vasanthasri Pathippagam, 28-C Kalyan Apartments, Railway Station Road, Alandur, Chennai-600016. Rs. 80.

This is a collection of essays on the life and thoughts of Subramanya Bharathi, the national poet. The regard the poet had for the great reformists of his period in Bengal, Tamil scholars, and eminent personalities in other States is explained.

His admiration for Tiruvalluvar, Ilango Adigal, Kambar, and Avvaiyar; his scholarship in Tamil as well as other languages; his writings in English on subjects of national importance during the days of freedom struggle; his free and roaming spirit; his ceaseless struggle for freedom from foreign yoke; and his fervent stress on women's education and eradication of other social evils are among the topics discussed with extensive quotations from the poet's works.

An entire essay is devoted to four lines from ‘Mahatma Gandhi panchakam' and it offers a critical interpretation. Another points to the prescience of the poet, but to link the U.S. twin-tower tragedy to a passage that was written long ago is stretching the reader's imagination.

Several chapters detail the various events in Bharathi's life but they often read like a catalogue. The last chapter is the author's tribute to various admirers and scholars over the ages and could well serve as a pointer to source material on the poet.

Especially in a book that could act as a work of reference, the omission of a table of contents is glaring.

More In: Books | Arts