Know Your Leader Profile: M Karunanidhi-- DMK

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M Karunanidhi is 93-year-old, but age is just a number for the veteran politician of Tamil Nadu.

Even at this age, he is the one who calls the shots in his party and is all set to contest from his native Tiruvarur constituency in the upcoming assembly elections on May 16.

[Assembly Elections 2016: Know your state-- Tamil Nadu]

M Karunanidhi

Let's take a look at the profile of M Karunandihi (popularly known as Kalaignar by his supporters) who has never lost in any election contest, in a political career spanning more than 60 years:

[Top Contest of Tamil Nadu polls 2016: ANR Pannerselvam versus Karunanidhi]

Date and Place of Birth:

Born on June 3, 1922 in Thirukuvalai, Tiruvarur district of Tamil Nadu

[DMK chief Karunanidhi to contest from Tiruvarur]

Brief family history:

Karunanidhi got married thrice. His first wife was Padmavathy Ammal, with whom he had a son M K Muthu, but both of them died at young age.

Then, he got married to Dayalu Ammal, with whom he has four children-- M K Alagiri, M K Stalin, M K Tamilarasu and Selvi. His third wife is Rajathiammal, with whom he has a daughter-- Kanimozhi.

Political career:

Karunanidhi began his political career at the age of just 14 and participated in anti-Hindi slogans.

He founded the first student wing of the Dravidan Movement-- Tamil Nadu Tamil Manavar Mandram and also started a newspaper-- Murasoli on Aug 10, 1942.

In 1957, he was first elected to the Tamil Nadu assembly from the Kulithalai assembly of Thiruchirapalli district, one among the first 15 MLAs elected to the then Madras Legislative Assembly on a DMK ticket.

Positions that he held

1961- DMK treasurer
1962- Deputy leader of opposition in the state assembly
1967- Minister for public works
Feb 1969 to Jan 1971- Became chief minister of Tamil Nadu
March 1971 to Jan 1976- Tamil Nadu CM for 2nd time
Jan 1989 to Jan 1991- Tamil Nadu CM for 3rd time
May 1996 to May 2001- Tamil Nadu CM for 4th time
May 2006 to May 2011- Tamil Nadu CM for 5th time

He has been elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly 12 times.

Other interesting facts about him

  • Karunanidhi has made his presence felt in Tamil cinema as a playwright and screenwriter. He continues to actively pursue his passion for screenwriting, a habit he has been nurturing for about 75 years now.
  • Karunanidhi's remarkable literary skills and success as a screenwriter and subsequent popularity played a big role in his rise in the DMK and his overall stature.
  • The DMK chief's literary pursuit began with a handwritten magazine "Manavanesan" while he was still in school at Tiruvarur, the souvenir says. This flowered into a successful career in screenwriting for Tamil films and stage plays.
  • As an author, he has published six volumes of his autobiography, Nenjukku Neethi in Tamil language.
  • He has contributed a lot to Tamil Literature by writing poems, letters, screenplays, novels, biographies, historical novels, stage-plays, dialogues and movie songs.
  • He was awarded two honorary degrees- in 1971 by Annamalai University and in 2006 by Madurai Kamaraj University.
  • He was a non vegetarian now turned vegetarian. He has claimed that the secret of his energy and success lies in yoga and he is an atheist.

[Special Coverage: Assembly Elections 2016]


In 2007, his remarks over Lord Rama in conection with Ramsetu bridge stormed a huge political controversy when he allgedly said, "Some say there was a person over 1.7 million years ago. His name was Rama. Do not touch the bridge (Ramar Sethu) constructed by him. Who is this Rama? From which engineering college did he graduate? Is there any proof for this?" [Karunanidhi attacks AIADMK on 'Ram Setu']

In April 2009, Karunanidi landed in a controversy when he said that he did not view Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam chief Velupillai Prabhakaran as a terrorist. [LTTE chief Prabhakaran not a terrorist: M Karunanidhi]

A day after, he said that he cannot forget that LTTE was behind the former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's assassination.

And the rest is history...

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