Restoration work by INTACH to start soon on Bharathiar’s memorial, says govt.

Celebrated poet Bharathiar’s birth anniversary was commemorated by government, literary and cultural organisations in Puducherry on Wednesday. But his only memorial in Puducherry which doubles as a research centre remains locked, as it has been for the last four years.

Floral tributes were paid to Bharathiar’s statue at the Bharathi Park and the Bharathi Manimandapam at Ariyankuppam on Wednesday. But admirers of the poet remained disheartened that the Mahakavi Bharathiar Memorial Museum and Research Centre remained closed for yet another anniversary. The centre at Number 20, Eswaran Koil Street, is believed to be the last residence of Bharathi during his ten-year stay in Puducherry, when he sought refuge in French India.

At the time of the poet’s death anniversary three months ago, various political and literary organisations, including the Tamil Progressive Writer’s Association raised their voice demanding the centre be opened to public. The centre was closed almost five years ago, when the building was declared unsafe and deemed in need of restoration.

A government order has been passed recently authorising the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) to take up restoration works, sources at the Department of Art and Culture, told The Hindu. The funds estimated a total of Rs. 99 lakh have been sanctioned recently for the project. INTACH members said the team and resources to take up the project are at the ready.

But the restoration work is yet to begin as no advance payment has been made to the organisation for starting work, yet. The government order that authorised INTACH to take up the project did not have a provision for an advance payment, said officials at the Art and Culture Department. But an order is expected to be passed to sanction the preliminary payment soon. Works will start once the initial payment is made.

The memorial museum at Puducherry is the third outside Ettayapurma in Tuticorin district and Chennai, the place of the poet’s birth and death. Puducherry occupies special significance with the decade Bharathi spent here being regarded as his creative best. Masterpieces like Kuyil pattu, Kannan pattu and Panchali sabatham were written here. The memorial museum has over 17,000 books, rare photographs and manuscripts with Bharathiar’s writing.

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