Kalaignar Karunanidhi - Ex-Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Kalaignar Karunanidhi of Tamil Nadu
Kalaignar Karunanidhi is one of the founder members of DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam), political party in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He is also the chief of DMK from the death of C.N. Annadurai in 1969 till date.
He has been the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for five times (1969-71, 1971-74, 1989-91, 1996-2001 and 2006). He led the UPA in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry to win all the 40 Parliament seats in the 2004 Parliament elections.
Karunanidhi is known for his knowledge in and involvement for Tamil literature. His offerings cover a wide area like poem, letters, screenplays, novels, biographies, historic novels, stageplays, dialogues, songs etc.
He has expertly crafted Kuraloviam for Thirukural, Tholkaappiya Poonga, Poombukar as well as many poems, essays and books. Apart from literature, Karunanidhi has also played a part to the Tamil language through art and architecture.
Like the Kuraloviyam which Kalaignar wrote about Thirukkural, he through the construction of Valluvar Kottam gave an architectural presence to Thiruvalluvar, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. At Kanniyakumari, southern tip of Indian peninsula Karunanidhi has constructed a 133 feet high statue of Thiruvalluvar which effectively portrays his feelings to the great immortal scholar.
Photo: flickr under creative commons license,
On June 3, 1924, Karunanidhi was born in the village of Thirukuvalai, near Thiruvarur in Thanjavur district, the 'rice bowl' of Tamil Nadu. His father Muthuvel was a Tamil scholar and a Pandit, and his mother Anjugam Ammaiyar, a dedicated and loving housewife. Once, Karunanidhi said: "I was not the pet child of an affluent home. I was born of ordinary peasant stock, in a small village."
As a student, he did not envince much leaning for regular studies. But he had a keen interest for drama, poetry, and Tamil literature. As a boy of 13, he pushed himself into a cultural and social movement, fascinated by the great orator Pattukottai Alagir, a pillar of the then Justice Party, who came to Thiruvarur to address a meeting in 1932. The seeds of public spirit and service were sown in him by Alagiri. Karunanidhi entered politics at the age of 14 and participated in Anti-Hindi agitations. At a student's conference in Tanjore, Karunanidhi was joined as an important participant. But when he understood that the organising body had hidden political objectives, he pulled out from the convention. As a counteract move he started a new organisation called 'Tamil Manavar Manram', where he brought together all young people with a love for the Tamil language and culture. It was under the support of the Manram that the popular newspaper 'Murasoli' was born. At first he distributed a hand written newspaper called Manavar Nesan to its members. Later he founded a student organisation called Tamil Nadu Tamil Manavar Manram which was the first student division of the Dravidan Movement. Karunanidhi involved himself and the student society in social work with other members he would visit the nearby hamlets to do all that was possible within his limit. Here he started a newspaper for its associates which grew into Murasoli newspaper which is the DMK party's official newspaper.
His Political Career
Photo: flickr under creative commons license.
Kalaignar Karunanidhi has been under arrest several times in long political career combating for peoples' suffering this including against price raise, Anti-Hindi Agitation, for Eelam Tamils and other political actions. He has been detained over 14 times. Even in jail he set up a shadow government, and owed everyday jobs to every one of his cadres. During his periods in prison, Karunanidhi read and wrote widely. Karunanidhi led a fight in a bid was active in the Kallakudi struggle to rename Dalmiapuram railway Station. He was commended with the task of organizing the struggle. The cadres were separated into three batches, and Karunanidhi led the batch which lay down on the railway track, blocking the train by putting his head on the rail track and made powerful slogan "Udal Mannukku, Uyir Tamilukku" (Body to soil and Life to Tamil") that fascinated many to join him. They were quickly detained, the second group also met the same fate. When the third group lead by Kannadasan took its turn chaos broke, the police started to firing leading to the death of two. Karunanidhi was wedged in Thiruchirapalli (Trichy) Central Jail.
Karunanidhi, at the age of 20, left to work for Jupiter Pictures as a script writer. His first film Rajakumari, add him much popularity. It was here that his skills as a script writer were sharpened. He recorded more than 70 screenplays.