Chief Minister Shri Palanisami ji,
Minister Shri K. Pandiarajan ji ,
Shri K. Ravi, Founder, Vanavil Cultural Centre,
I begin by paying tributes to the great Bharathiyar on his Jayanti. On such a special day, I am happy to be taking part in the International Bharati Festival. I am also pleased to present the Bharati Award for this year to the great Scholar Shri Seeni Viswanathan ji, who has dedicated his entire life to research on Bharati's works. I appreciate him for actively pursuing research even at the age of 86! How to describe Subramanya Bharathi, this is a very difficult question. Bharathiyar cannot be linked to any single profession or dimension. He was a poet, writer, editor, journalist, social reformer, freedom fighter, humanist and much more.
One can only marvel at his works, his poems, his philosophy and his life. He also had a close link with Varanasi, which I have the honour of representing in the Parliament. I recently saw that his collected works have been published in 16 volumes. In a short life of 39 years he wrote so much, did so much and excelled in so much. His writings are a guiding light to us towards a glorious future.
There is much that our youth today can learn from Subramania Bharati. Most importantly to be courageous. Fear was unknown to Subramania Bharati . He said:
அச்சமில்லை அச்சமில்லை அச்சமென்பதில்லையே
இச்சகத்து ளோரெலாம் எதிர்த்து நின்ற போதினும்,
அச்சமில்லை அச்சமில்லை அச்சமென்பதில்லையே
It means: Fear I have not, fear I have not, Even if all the world opposes me. I see this spirit in Young India today. I see this spirit when they are at the forefront of innovation and excellence. India's start-up space is filled with fearless youth who are giving something new to humanity. Such a 'can do' spirit will bring wonder for our nation and our planet.
Bharathiyar believed in a healthy mix between the ancient and the modern. He saw wisdom in staying connected with our roots as well as looking towards the future. He considered Tamil Language and motherland India as his two eyes. He sang songs of the greatness of ancient India, the greatness of the Vedas and Upanishads, our culture, tradition and our glorious past. But at the same time, he also warned us that simply living in the past glory is not enough. We need to develop a scientific temper, a spirit of enquiry and march towards progress.
Mahakavi Bharathiyar's definition of progress had a central role for women . One of the most important vision was that of independent and empowered women. Mahakavi Bharatiyaar wrote that women should walk with their head held high, while looking people in the eye. We are inspired by this vision and are working to ensure women led empowerment. It would make you happy that in every sphere of our Government's working, there has been importance given to dignity of women.
Today, over 15 crore women entrepreneurs are funded by schemes like MUDRA Yojana. They are walking with their head held high, looking us in the eye and telling us how they are becoming self-reliant.
Today, women are becoming part of our armed forces with permanent commissioning. They are walking with their head held high and looking us in the eye and filling us with confidence that the country is in safe hands. Today, the poorest of the poor women who used to face problems of lack of safe sanitation, are benefited by over 10 crore safe and hygienic toilets.
They do not have to face problems any more. They can walk with their head held high and look everyone in the eye, as Mahakavi Bharatiyaar has imagined. This is the era of New India's Nari Shakti. They are breaking barriers and making an impact. This is New India's tribute to Subramania Bharati.
Mahakavi Bharatiyaar understood that any society which is divided will not be able to succeed. At the same time, he wrote about the emptiness of political freedom which does not address the social inequities and does not address social ills. He said, and I quote:
இனியொரு விதி செய்வோம் - அதை
எந்த நாளும் காப்போம்
தனியொரு வனுக்குணவிலை யெனில்
It means: Now we will make a rule, and enforce it ever, If ever one man faces starvation, the world has to atone on pain of destruction His teachings are a strong reminder to us to remain united and committed to the empowerment of every single individual. Especially the poor and marginalised.
There is a lot our youth have to learn from Bharathi. I wish that everyone in our country reads his works and is inspired by them. I congratulate Vanavil Cultural Center on their wonderful work in spreading the message of Bharathiyar. I am confident that this festival will have productive deliberations which will help steer India into a new future.
Thank you very much.