Kanakasabai Subburathinam (Tamil: பாரதிதாசன்; 29 April 1891 – 21 April 1964), popularly called Bharathidasan) was a 20th-century Tamil poet and rationalist whose literary works handled mostly socio-political issues. His writings served as a catalyst for the growth of the Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu. In addition to poetry, his views found expression in other forms such as plays, film scripts, short stories and essays. He was mentored by Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathiyar (after whom he called himself “Bharathidasan”). The Government of Puducherry union territory has adopted the song of invocation to Goddess Tamil written by Bharathidasan as the state song of Puducherry.
Bharathidasan was born to Kanagasabai Mudaliar and Lakshmi Ammal in a well-to-do merchant family of Pondicherry. His original name was Subburathinam. He underwent formal education in Tamil literature, Tamil grammar and Saiva Siddhanta Vedanta under reputed scholars. He studied at the Collège Calvé in Pondicherry. In 1909, he was introduced to Subramaniya Bharathiyar, and his interactions with the Mahakavi had a major impact on him. He initially worked as a Tamil teacher in the French territory of Karaikal.
He actively participated in the Indian Independence Movement and through his writings,he openly opposed the British and the French Government. He was sentenced and imprisoned by the French Government for voicing views against the French Government that was ruling Pondicherry then.
Throughout his writing career he was encouraged by political leaders such as Annadurai, M. Karunanidhi,Tanjore Poet Ramanathan and M. G. Ramachandran. In 1955 he was elected to the Puducherry Legislative Assembly. In 1960 he failed in the election. He remained a prolific writer until he died in 1964 in a hospital in Madras (now Chennai).
Bharathidasan penned his works under different pseudonyms such as Paavendar,Puduvai Kalaimakal, Desopakari, Desabhaktan, Anantapotini, Swadesamitiran, Tamilarasu, Tupleks, Kirukkan, Kindalkaran and the name by which he known today – Bharathidasan.