Scores of people and scholars offered floral tributes to the late poet at the statue facing the school entrance. P Moorthy, Minister for Commercial Taxes and Registration, Madurai Collector S Aneesh Sekhar and officials from various departments paid homage at the school, where the poet did a short stint as a teacher of Tamil in 1904.
At the school, which now has an enrollment of around 2,400 students, where the poet served in the days of yore, a literary programme was organised to mark the centenary of Bharati’s death. Scholars and other dignitaries recalled the ancient Tamil poet’s literary contributions and his kind of journalism.
Eulogising the poet’s legacy and his phenomenal role in the freedom movement, KS Narayanan, Head Master, Sethupathi School, where he worked for three months in 1904, said Mahakavi Bharathi is still with us (as teaching faculty) and the poet’s name is being maintained in the school registry and that it will remain there forever.
B Balamurugan, an alumnus, who has been instrumental behind the establishment of Anbu Suvar (Wall of Kindness) on the school premises on this anniversary, said books penned by Poet Bharathi were placed on the shelves to motivate like-minded people to offer educational aid to the needy.
R Mohan, the caretaker of the poet’s house in Ettayapuram, who retired in January 2018 after 25 years of service, said Bharathi Illam (Bharathi’s house) was taken into possession by the State government on May 5, 1973, for better care when M Karunanidhi was the Chief Minister. The poet’s house, which during the 90s was visited by political stalwarts including BJP veteran LK Advani, was initially maintained by PWD and later on by Archaeology Department, and only after 1992, it came under the control of the Department of Information and Public Relations, he said.
Bharathiyar Memorial Trust, Kovilpatti, hailed the state government’s announcement declaring the death anniversary of Mahakavi Subramania Bharathi as Mahakavi Day. P Muthu Murugan, founder of the Trust, along with young students from Tamil Baptist Primary school, Ettayapuram, showcased patriotic fervour by wearing a white turban, black jacket and dhoti resembling the poet, and took out a rally to Bharathi’s manimandapam, where they paid homage. The participants drew rangoli of the poet’s image, where Social Welfare Minister P Geetha Jeevan offered prizes to winners of contests organised to mark the day.