By Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan
Just as one was planning/plotting to write a piece for a web journal on the magic of G20 Summit that Bharat put up with style, substance and splendor , for all the world to see and experience – that We Have Arrived- the above invite landed with me. The name ‘Bharathi’ conjures up class . Having written a book on the anecdotal plane, ‘he’ was irresistible. Add the allure of song and dance, I landed in the Sabha, in time, without the accompaniments of Kasi Halwa, Rava Dosa and coffee of a Margazhi time canteen. The performance more than made up for the missing elements.
Humility comes easy when you think Bharathi. And when you watch a song & dance performance, not knowing the rules and nuances or the grammar, you only look for ‘janaranjakam’, beautiful to the eye and lively/lovely on the ear. Well the girls danced to the tune of Prithivi Harish and his nasal twang this day swingingly matched the multiple course cuisine, the guests were served by Bharat in Delhi. And the Bharathi word play enhanced the brilliance. Any wonder, the performers made my day, to gain at least a wee bit of the ‘beautiful knowledge’ or soak in the lilting/lifting experience.
Mahakavi Subramania Bharathi’s song Sudar Migum Arivu is a celebration of knowledge and wisdom. The song is a call to action, urging people to seek out knowledge and understanding. Bharathi believes that knowledge is the key to liberation and progress. He sees knowledge as a powerful tool that can be used to improve the world. And when the Mahakavi’s verses are sung, they are truly elevating. Prithivi Harish’s diction and pregnant pauses were spot on. He added a notch or two to his growing stature, as an upcoming singer ( or already ‘upcome’ artiste).
The Sudar Migum Arivu song begins with a description of the beauty and wonder of the world. Bharathi uses vivid imagery to paint a picture of a world full of beauty and mystery. He sees the world as a place of endless possibilities, and he urges people to explore and learn.
Bharathi then turns to the importance of knowledge. He argues that knowledge is the key to understanding the world around us. He says that knowledge can help us to solve problems, to make better decisions, and to live more fulfilling lives. And bring in knowledge from any and every direction championed Bharathi (சென்றிடுவீர் எட்டுத்திக்கும்…)Don’t ask me how the dancers portrayed his verses? I am least qualified to describe it.
Bharathi also sees knowledge as a way to connect with others. He believes that knowledge can help us to build bridges between different cultures and backgrounds. He says that knowledge can help us to create a more just and equitable world.
ஆயிரம் தெய்வங்கள் உண்டென்று தேடி
அலையும் அறிவிலிகாள் — பல்
லாயிரம் வேதம் அறிவொன்றே தெய்வம் உண்-
Oh, foolish people going here and there
In search of God –can’t you hear
Myriad scriptures declaring
Knowledge alone is God!
His choice of words are simple yet stinging.The song ends with a call to action. Bharathi urges people to seek out knowledge and understanding. He says that knowledge is the key to a better future.
The song is a powerful message of hope and inspiration. It is a reminder that knowledge is a powerful force for good in the world. The song is a call to action, urging people to use their knowledge to make the world a better place. One could detect irrefutable shades of ‘Sanathan Dharma’ in Bharathi as a crafty muse, which is ‘indestructible’.
The song is also a reflection of Bharathi’s own life and work. Bharathi was a lifelong learner. He was a Sanathani, at every level. He was always seeking out new knowledge and understanding. He used his knowledge to advocate for social justice, a constitutional mandate, and to promote the Tamil language and culture, as a conscience call. Despite being born in the ‘wrong community’, according to some!
Sudar Migum Arivu is a classic Tamil song that is still relevant today. The song is a reminder of the importance of knowledge and understanding. It is a call to action, urging people to use their knowledge to make the world a better place. Bharat displayed Bharathi in all its glory, during its G20 Presidency. One Earth. One Family. One Future.
One admits to one’s smallness to review the performance. Bharathi does it to you. He hits you with his poignant poetry. You do not have any more than the limited gifts, beyond the finger on the keyboard. Did he know his ‘beautiful knowledge’ would be ‘danced’ on stage? Sung, yes. But ‘danced’?
One concedes one’s appalling inadequacy to explore the mesmerizing magnificence of Bharathi, at the deeper or philosophical or mystical plane as this Bharathi verse, picked up by the performers.
உண்மை அறிந்தவர் உன்னை கணிப்பாரோ?மாயையே – மன திண்மை உள்ளாரை நீ செய்வதும் ஒன்றுண்டோ! – மாயையே!
Will you (Maya) be appraised by men who are aware of the eternal truth? What can be done by you to those who have the internal strength?]
And Prithivi Harish got into his element when he broke into:
வானில் பறக்கின்ற புள்ளெலாம் நான்,
மண்ணில் திரியும் விலங்கெலாம் நான்;
கானில் வளரும் மரமெலாம் நான்,
காற்றும் புனலும் கடலுமே நான்
I am in every bird that soars the skies!
I am in every animal that wanders this earth!
I am in the trees that grows in the wild!
I am in the breeze, I am in the stream, I am in the sea!
The powerful pathos in the Bharathi verse fit Prithivi’s unique style to a tee. Prithivi and his accompanists and of course, the dancers, got a loud ( as loud a decibel as a not so full hall could rise to) applause, for their encore, from an All are Welcome performance.
Why not just let the glorious song and dance on ‘beautiful knowledge’ that Subbiah alluded to with ease, with a thillana in :
இத்தரை மீதினி லேயிந்த நாளினில்
இப்பொழு தேமுக்தி சேர்ந்திட நாடிச்
சுத்த அறிவு நிலையிற் களிப்பவர்
தூயவ ராமென்றிங் கூதேடா சங்கம்!
And closing with that immortal:
நல்லதோர் வீணை செய்தே – அதை
நலங்கெடப் புழுதியில் எறிவதுண்டோ?
சொல்லடி சிவசக்தி – எனைச்
சுடர்மிகும் அறிவுடன் படைத்துவிட்டாய்.
வல்லமை தாராயோ, – இந்த
மாநிலம் பயனுற வாழ்வதற்கே?
சொல்லடி, சிவசக்தி – நிலச்
சுமையென வாழ்ந்திடப் புரிகுவையோ?
You created me with flaming knowledge.This world should benefit from me.Otherwise I do not want to be a burden to this land where I was born.I want you to give me mind and health and life to do what I want to do.Give me the boon to sing about you even when my body is burnt.You will have no objection to grant me this.
settle in, as if on R K Laxman’s proverbial common man viz. as a ‘beautiful experience’.
(Author of Mahakavi Subramania Bharathiar (Musings, Anecdotes, Episodes), 2021, Kalaimagal Publications) Practicing advocate in the Madras High Court)