Puducherry Valartha Bharathiar: D.J.B. P. More; Pub. by Thyagi Leon Prouchandy Memorial Sangam, 280 Anna Salai, Pondichery-605001. Rs. 275.

To avoid a possible arrest, patriotic Subramanya Bharati fled to Pondicherry, then a French settlement. How the 10 years he spent in that safe haven from 1908 marked a significant phase in his advancement in various respects is highlighted in this biography.

What distinguishes this book is that it is written by a native of Pondicherry living in France for over three decades and it is based primarily on archival records available there.

The author has to his credit a number of books including translation into French quite a few Bharati's poems. His intensive study of a range of works on the poet has stood him in good stead.

Bharati's association with V.V.S. Aiyer and Aurobindo went a long way in strengthening his will to pursue his goals — a casteless society; the uplift of the downtrodden; and the emancipation of women.

Bharati's early years, his marriage at an early age of 14, his visit to Varanasi where he learnt Hindi, English and Sanskrit, and his passion for the country's freedom — all these find a place. So do his stint as a journalist, and his writings of different genre.

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