Mannar Mannan, aka Gopathi, freedom fighter and son of renowned poet and Tamil scholar, Bharathidasan, passed away on Monday (July 6) afternoon, due to age-related illness at Puducherry. He was 92.
A native of Puducherry, Gopathi, born on November 3, 1928, was the first child of Bharathidasan. He has two sisters. He did his graduation in French.
As a young boy, he started a handwritten magazine called ‘Murasu’ along with a poet named Tamil Oli. The magazine faced the wrath of the French imperial government as it took a stand against them. While Tamil Oli was sentenced, Gopathi was freed since he was only 14-years-old.
Since then he began to write under the pseudonym, Mannar Mannan. Besides, due to his efforts, the literary works of Bharathidasan have come to light.
Bharathidasan is a household name both in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. He was known as ‘Puratchi Kavignar’ (revolutionary poet) because of his fierce poems composed during the freedom struggle. His maiden name was Kanagasabai Subburathinam.
But due to his respect for another popular poet Bharathiyar, he changed his name into Bharathidasan (slave of Bharathi). His poems form part of school and university curriculum. The Bharathidasan University in Tiruchy district is named after him.
When C.N. Annadurai founded Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or DMK in 1949, Gopathi started its branch in the Union Territory.
In 1965, he was jailed for 45 days for participating in anti-Hindi agitations. In 1968, he joined All India Radio, Puducherry, and provided a creative platform for many young writers and artistes.
He penned a biography of his father titled ‘Karuppu Kuyilin Neruppu Kural’ and ‘Nenja Kadhavugal’ is a compilation of his short stories. He was awarded ‘Kalaimamani’ by Tamil Nadu government for excellence in the field of art and literature.
His wife Savithri died 30 years ago. He was survived by three sons and a daughter.