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Karunanidhi passes away: All you need to know about this doyen of Tamil Nadu politics

By Vikas

Chennai, Aug 7: Five times Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and 12 times MLA M Karunanidhi passed away at Chennai's Kauvery Hospital today. He was 94 years old.

DMK patriarch Karunanidhi was admitted to the Kauvery Hospital on July 28 following a dip in his blood pressure. He was kept under constant observation in the ICU ever since. On July 29, his vitals seemed to fluctuated for sometime after which the hospital issued a bulletin saying that his condition had stabilised.

File photo of Karunanidhi

On August 6, the bulletin issued by the Kauvery Hospital said that the DMK chief's condition had declined. August 7th's medical bulletin said that his condition was 'extremely critical' and 'unstable. At 6.10 pm on August 7, Karunanidhi breathed has last.

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

Date and Place of Birth:

Born on June 3, 1924 in Thirukuvalai, Tiruvarur district of Tamil Nadu

Brief family history:

Karunanidhi 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 was Rajathiammal, with whom he had a daughter-- Kanimozhi.

Political career:

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

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 'Kalaignar' 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 was elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly 12 times.

Other interesting facts about him

  • Karunanidhi made his presence felt in Tamil cinema as a playwright and screenwriter. He actively pursued his passion for screenwriting and remained close to it despite being active in politics.
  • 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. This flowered into a successful career in screenwriting for Tamil films and stage plays.
  • As an author, he penned six volumes of his autobiography, Nenjukku Neethi, in Tamil language.
  • He 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 turned vegetarian. He had claimed that the secret of his energy and success lies in yoga and that he was an atheist.


In 2007, his remarks over Lord Rama in conection with Ramsetu bridge stormed a huge political controversy when he allegedly 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?"

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.

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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