Madras Institute of Developmental Studies, Chennai
A R Venkatachalapathy is Professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai. He has taught at universities at Tirunelveli, Chennai and Chicago, and was the ICCR Chair Professor at the National University of Singapore. He has published widely on the social, cultural and intellectual history of colonial Tamil Nadu. An accomplished writer in Tamil, Venkatachalapathy has authored and edited over 20 books in Tamil. His publications include The Province of the Book: Scholars, Scribes and Scribblers in Colonial Tamil Nadu; In Those Days There Was No Coffee: Writings in Cultural History; and (as editor) Love Stands Alone: Selections from Tamil Sangam Poetry.
Session 1F: Public Lecture
Chairperson: R Ramaswamy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
C. Subramania Bharati: Nationalism and creativity View Video
Colonial India produced a phenomenal number of extraordinarily gifted intellectuals who made a deep impact on the making of modern India. But a strange paradox animates their after lives. While many of these intellectuals were au fait with changes across the subcontinent, not to speak of the world, post-independence histories and biographies have imprisoned them in their regions and languages. This lecture focuses on C. Subramania Bharati (1882–1921), modern Tamil’s most prominent literary figure, to demonstrate the wide-ranging influences that made him: his early life in fin de siécle Benares, the Swadeshi movement with its epicenter in Bengal, his friendship with Aurobindo, his wide and eclectic reading in the World literature, and so on. An intertwined strand of this talk is his engagement with Rabindranath Tagore, whom he admired deeply but never met. A strong theme that animated his all-too-brief life was the East’s subjugation by the West and the role of science in it.