Manushi Bharathi is still in university doing her doctoral degree but has carved a niche in Tamil poetry and the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar is an endorsement to that. This young litterateur hails from a humble village in Northern Tamil Nadu and is the first graduate to emerge from her family. She lost her mother very early in her life and it was reading that gave her the much needed solace and helped to cope with the void and lonesomeness.
When she started scribbling her ideas on paper she had never imagined that these writings would one day be made into books. In fact it was from the year 2008 that she started to safekeep her writings. Her first book of poems, ‘The Glowing Words of Little Princess’, got published in 2013. It was noted literary critic Venkat Swaminathan’s review that drew the attention of readers to this book.
Enthused by the reception Manushi published her second book of poems in 2014, ‘God of Kisses’, and it was followed by ‘Reminiscence of a Primal Love’ in 2015. Manushi Bharathi’s original name is Jayabharathi. She chose the nom de plume Manushi in order to ascertain her being a woman which is in no way inferior to that of a man. The second part of her name is taken from the name of unparalleled Tamil poet Subramanya Bharathi.
In her poems Manushi speaks about caste, social issues, love, friendship etc. She turns very poignant with her expression in poems which narrate the wretched lives of women in the society. There is a poem titled ‘The Land of Nirbhayas’ in the collection ‘Reminiscence of a Primal Love’. “Nirbhayas are fearless- always-they taste death-in their struggle to live… I have come out of the kitchen now- not to draw ‘kolam’ in the courtyard- not to dispose of the garbage- not to fetch water- but for some other reason”.
Of all the accolades to her poems she considers particularly the following one to be very precious. While she was readying her poems for her first collection she went to take print outs of her poems in a DTP shop. The guy at the shop was much impressed by her poem, ‘There is Nothing to Live for’, and asked whether he could keep a copy of it with him. She considers this as one of the biggest honours ever bestowed on her poems.
Her inspirations in poems are Malayalam poets Kamaladas and Balachandran Chullikad, and Taslima Nasrin. Manushi also loves the poems of Neruda, Mahmoud Darwish and Sylvia Plath. In contemporary Tamil poetry she admires Ilampirai, Kutti Revathi and Leena Manimekalai. Manushi has plans to explore the world of children and in the near future she will be working on it.