Kalaignar M Karunanidhi’s Iconic Era 1924 – 2018 : A Look Back


Entire state is deeply saddened about the fall of veteran leader , DMK patriarch Kalaignar M Karunanidhi. His demise is definitely a huge loss to the Tamil Nadu politics and the people of the state. He will surely be missed for he has worked hard in improving the lives of many even when he was not in power , his constant fight to save our Tamil language and culture has inspired a lot of people , his intoxicated love for tamil and its people defines who he was. This day is sure a black day in the lives of tamil people as we have lost a warrior and a man who is known for his rational ideologies.

Kalaignar Karunanidhi was a leader who strived to create spaces for the backward and oppressed classes. He upheld the ideologies firmly despite various oppositions and made sure to infuse them in his schemes and policies that has contributed to be social and economic emancipation of thousands and lakhs of people whose livelihood was at stake. All his fight was to make “equity” a reality during the time where the situations in TN did not favour equality as a social justice. Despite , people used to brush away his opinions and views he was unbothered to even deviate away from his thoughts and views.   Kalaignar remained a solid pillar of support for VP Singh in the case of Mandal Commission and the DMK chief made sure his voice was heard by the National leaders and this dedicated effort was the sole reason behind various kids from poor and backward class step into schools and attain education. He has indeed reformed the lives of millions.

The iconic leader of Tamil Nadu was born on 3rd june 1924 as Dakshinamoorthy in Thirukuvalai, Nagapattinam , Tamil Nadu. In his journey as a politician , leader and an artist he has achieved wonders and accomplished unimaginable development activities with his magical visionaries.

Before we begin to look back at his political achievements , lets look  into his life in cinema and tamil literature. His first step in screen writing started with the film titled “Rajakumari” (1947) that starred MGR in the lead. Modern Studio owned by T.R Sundaram roped in Karunanidhi as a permanant scriptwriter following the huge hit of the film MGR’s Manthiri Kumari for which Karunanidhi was the script writer. His flair of phenomenal writing and knack  was evidently visible and received great appreciation in Parasakthi , debut movie for Nadigar Thilagam Sivaji Ganesan. This film after its release took the entire industry by storm and eventually this film turned out be a great milestone in his career. Other films of him that deserves a special mention is Panam and Thangaratham. These films were subjected to controversies for the ideologies that were dealt with which was considered too much for that time. It embraced the ideologies of his Dravidian party like widow remarriage , abolition of untouchability and religious hypocrisy. In his 64 year old cinema journey  he was part of 69 movies from Manohara , Thirumbi Paar , Abhimanyu , Paasa Paravaigal , Pen Singam and many more to list till Ponnar Shankar. His contributions towards tamil cinema as a dialogue writer , screenplay writer , lyric writer will be remembered forever for its brilliance and perfection.  Karunanidhi played a major and vital role in the glorifying cinema journey of legendary actors of yesteryear MGR and Shivaji Ganesan.

The name “Kalaignar” was named by the veteran actor M R Radha following the impressive play put forth by Karunanidhi titled “Thooku Medai”. There was a huge fan base and admiration for Karunanidhi for his excellence in writing and knowledge in the cinema fraternity too. The controversial dialogues targeting injustice , untouchability  , inequality and many other social issues got him numerous speculations and criticism. The matured handling of those negative remarks and reviews by the man of action is something people still envy about him.

His expertise in oratorical skill has helped him in a huge way to propagate his ideologies and his party. His speech titled “Natpu” meaning “Friendship” was the first ever on stage experience he encountered during his 8th grade. The stage drama titled “Pazhaniyappan” was his first drama that was staged at Thiruvarur Baby Talkies during the year 1944. His contributions towards tamizh , its literature is enormous. He has written 150 plus books that includes his poems , stories , and prose. He doesn’t just stop with contributing towards Tamizh , he has taken immense effort towards honouring and payed tribute to various Tamizh poets and scholars. To quote an example , he has honoured Thiruvalluvar , a tamizh poet and philosopher by constructing Valluvar Kottam in Chennai and in Kanyakumar he constructed a 133 high statue of Thiruvalluvar which is one of the most significant statues of our state. He has also been the backbone behind the establishment of state library in Kotturpuram in the name of Anna ,  The Anna Centenary library is one of the biggest library of Asia.  “Tamizh Thai Vazhthu” that is being recited before the commencement of events across the places in state is all because of him.

The role he played in the World Tamizh Conference was also striking one. He first named it as “Ulaga Tamizh Maanadu” but it was later changed by IATR organisation. Karunanidhi delivered his speech during the year 1970 and 1987 in Paris and Kuala Lumpur respectively as a part of 3rd and 6th inaugral of Tamizh World Conference. He also penned the song “Semmozhiyaana Tamizh Mozhiiyaam” for the World Classical Tamizh Conference 2010 which was composed by AR Rahman and directed by Gautham Vasudev Menon that featured various playback singers and musicians.

Even before entering politics and cementing an identity for himself as a politician he has fought against the hindi imperialism. Karunanidhi was a part of Periyar’s self respect movement . The year 1953 was one of the most important year with respect to his political journey when he led an vital protest against naming a town Kallakudi with the name “Dalmiapuram”. This revolutionary protest was led by MK where he gathered students and reached the town railway station. With the help of the huge crowd he stuck papers on the new name that was painted across. Bunch of them also laid down on the railway tracks as a part of the protest. All this to resurrect the name “Kallakudi”.  The aftermath of which landed him in jail and two other bystanders were shot dead in effect to the firing by the police. This striking incident marked the beginning of his political life.

The young boy with a spark at the age of 14 entered politics. In the year 1957 he was elected as a member of state assembly for the first time. He won a seat in the Kullithai constituency.  His active participation towards the party  lead by Anna Durai that he was a part of through his dialogues in films and stage dramas is a well known factor. His dialogues in Parasakthi would be one of the best example to quote. He used art and cinema to propagate the ideologies of the Dravidian party and hence forth he was celebrated for his literary prowess. From that moment , he progressed gradually in his party like 1961 was the year he became the treasurer of DMK party and in the consecutive year(1962) he became the deputy leader of opposition and two years before he became the chief minister of TN , he was appointed as the Minister of Public Works.  Apart from the pride of being the 5 time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in the years 1969 , 1971 , 1989 , 1996 , 2006 , his remarkable role in mending the “Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam” party  and also in National politics is incredible. The year 1969 and 1989 marked a short term for Karunanidhi as CM because during 1969 – 1971 it was his own decision to resign and re contest and for the later term his party was dismissed for they were accused of having link with LTTE. But with his administrative skills and witty political strategies he became the successor of Anna Durai and M K Karunanidhi was the most uttered name of the state. The friendship between MGR and Karunanidhi during their initial days in cinema till they entered politics which was admired by many did not last long because of the obvious political rivalries.

The controversies that followed Karunanidhi joining NDA during the year 1999 was also one of the notable happenings of politics. While some point of the journey the competition was between DMK and Congress but AIADMK led by late leader MGR (actor turned politician) turned out to be the consistent competitor by a close rat race at the end of every 5 year term. At one point of time , DMK had alliance with Indira Gandhi led Congress party and J Jaylalitha who was the general secretary of AIADMK and chief minister after the death of MGR joined NDA. Karunanidhi was accused for joining NDA despite his firm opposition in the case of demolishing the Babri Mashjid. And the most depressing incident of Karunanidhi getting arrested in the year 2001 overnight when AIADMK was in power has created a never ending pain in the hearts of his followers and party members.

As mentioned above all his schemes , developmental activities and policies was targeted in improving the lives of people. He worked towards the betterment of women , transgenders , backwards classes even when he was not in power. He made it possible for women to acquire equal rights in ancestral property like men in the family even before the nation passed the law. He abolished the rickshaws that was pulled by hand and he hated the fact that no man is obliged to do service to other man. He strongly believed in equality and rational thinking. He was the one gave respectable names to widow women, handicapped and transgenders. Among his various implementation , the proper waste disposal system was a huge one. The first graduate scheme deserves a special mention. While people suffered from poverty and struggled to survive their everyday life , with this scheme education to all was a dream come true. If at all people from economically backward classes stepped into schools , wore a uniform and did home works the entire credits goes to the man of visionaries.  For us it would just be another IT job. For them, it would be the first and ultimate success in their life. Even if one person from a large family or a village makes it, that one person uplifts their entire circle. The list of his achievement is infinite and endless. It is needless to say the concept of ration shops that made sure majority of his people are fed. He was a staunch atheist who fought against Brahmanism. He demolished the idea of class differences among people and emphasized on equality.

He is truly a shining example for how a leader should be and how can the power be capitalized in improving the lives of people. He made use of his wit , expertise in language , oratorical skills , passion towards politics and the knack of acting according to the pulse of the people made him the one of the dignified leader. He is the main reason for DMK party rooting to the rational ideologies till date even though Karunanidhi’s active participation towards politics saw its convergence during the year 2006.

Throughout his life he has worked untiringly without a rest. Even during the year 2016 when he started to experience due to the age factor , he did not stop working towards the betterment. People’s heart were filled with pain and million of people , followers gathered outside Kauvery hospital chennai soon after the news of his worst clinical conidtion reached the people. The screams and loud cry , the emotional outburst defined whom Karunanidhi was and what he meant to the tamil people across various places.

The news that saddened entire state of Karunanidhi is no more shattered people. He passed away yesterday at 6:10 pm in Kauvery hospital due to age related illness and organ failure.  Unfortunately , even after his death he turned out to be a protester as the government denied Marina for Karunanidhi. People were irked by the act of refusing burial ground near Anna Durai who was the mentor / leader  for Karunanidhi. After the court order of approval of burial land in Marina, people are celebrating it as a victory and according to them even after death his fight and protest is winning over all the odds.

From president of India Narendra Modi to state leaders paid their tribute at Rajaji Hall today morning. Celebrities from film fraternity like Rajinikanth , Kamal Hassan , Ajith , Vadivelu and various others too paid their last respect. Vijaykanth who is in America posted a video where he ends up in tears will conveying condolence to the late DMK leader has deeply saddened the people. Vairamuthu who breaks out in tears near Kalaignar’s body , huge crowd that has come from various places to see their leader , Durai Murugan’s teary eyes shot from inside a car has moved people emotionally. Chief Ministers of other state , political leaders and National leaders  like Chandrababu Naidu , Vaico , Narayanasamy , Akilesh Yadav , Thirumavalavan , Khusboo Sundar , Nirmala Seetharaman , Pon Radhakrishnan , Pinarayi Vijayan , Aravind Kejriwal , Rahul Gandhi , Tamizhisai Soundarajan paid their last respect to the stalwart of DMK. Apart from this common people , celebrities from cinema industry expressed their condolence through social media. A huge mass crowd has accompanied Kalaignar Karunanidhi in his last journey from Rajaji hall to Anna Square.

Late Dr.Kalaignar Karunandidhi, was a veteran leader, great writer, orator, able administrator, smart politician! It is indeed an end of an era! We can’t find such leaders of such stature! As with every human he had his positives and negatives! But he played a vital role in Tamil Nadu politics and he did make a great difference to our state! RIP!

The born fighter and fearless leader who has the pride of being the 13 times MLA , 5 times CM , undefeated MLA for 60 years , 50 years as DMK chief and irreplaceable politician will be missed for sure. He is a great loss to politics , art , tamizh language and people who belong to tamizh. He takes the pride in working closer and being on field with most important leaders of political history Periyar , Kamarajar and Anna Durai.  His soul may rest in peace but his legacy will live for years to come.  7/7/2018 marks the black day in the history of Tamil Nadu politics as the state lost a strong leader. He will be remembered for ever for his incredible achievements,  indomitable spirit and willpower to overcome so many odds throughout his lifetime.

Kalaignar M Karunanidhi’s Iconic Era 1924 – 2018 : A Look Back







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