Mahakavi Bharathiyar was born to Chinnasamy Iyer and Lakshmiammal as Subbaya on 11th December 1882 in the Village of Ettayapuram in Tuticorin District. His original name was Subramanian. His prowess as a poet was recognized and he was accorded the title of ‘Bharathi’ by Jameen of Ettayapuram. He became Mahakavi by inculculating patriotism and nationalism through his songs. He was a Tamil teacher in Sethupathy High School in Madurai in the year 1902.
He went to Kasi in 1902, where he met Nivedita Devi and accepted her as Spiritual Guru. He published the weekly Journal India in 1906. He composed the greatest works Kuyil Pattu, Panchali Sabatham and Kannan Pattu. Tamil was exalted by Bharathiyar who was proficient in many languages. He breathed his last in Chennai on 11th September 1921.
The Government of Tamil Nadu maintains the house where Bharathiyar was born in Bharathi Street, Ettayapuram, Tuticorin District as memorial house. The house where Bharathiyar lived in Thulasingaperumal Koil Street, Triplicane, Chennai is also maintained as memorial house.
The Birth Anniversary of Mahakavi Bharathiyar is celebrated annually on 11th December in Ettayapuram, Thoothukudi District by the Government of Tamil Nadu.