DMK president and five-time chief minister of Tamil Nadu, Mathuvel Karunanidhi was a popular name in the country. Fondly, called as Kalaignar Karunanidhi, the 94 year old statesman had been a fixture of Tamil Nadu politics for decades.
He was also the long-standing leader of the Dravidian Self-respect and ten-time president of the Dravida Munneta Kazhagam (DMK) political party.
Before entering politics, Karunanidhi worked in the Tamil film industry, establishing himself as one of industry's leading screenwriters. He also made innumerable contributions to Tamil literature, having written stories, plays, novels and even a multiple-volume memoir titled 'Nenjukku Neethi'.
Here are the some interesting facts about the 5-time CM of Tamil Nadu
- Karunanidhi's original name was Dakshinamoorthy. He was born in Thirukuvalai, Tiruvarur district in the year 1924.
- He started his political career at the age of 14 by participating in anti-Hindi agitations. Few years later, he would form Tamil Nadu Tamil Manavar Mandram, which was the first Dravidian student organisation.
- Few years further down the line he would win his first election, entering the legislative Assembly in 1957.
- Parasakthi the movie in which Sivaji Ganesan made his debut was written by Karunanidhi. The film was noted for its dialogues and it features the famous 'Odinen Odinen' dialogue. It was a film that acquired cult status in Tamil Cinema.
- Kalaignar had been the inspiration for many a Tamilian, for the pride in Tamil language, and the manner in which it is to be articulated. His film scripts reflected his political idealism, and his belief in an egalitarian society.
- His focus on social evils, be it untouchability, widow remarriage, the abolishing of the zamindari system, and religious hypocrisy, positioned Karunanidhi as a social reformer.
- Moreover, his courage to take an anti-position, be it to Hindi (in the language agitation of the 1960s), or to Indira Gandhi's Emergency a decade later, established Karunanidhi as a leader who could not be ignored.
- Karunanidhi holds the record of not losing a single election since then.
- In 2006, when he assumed office as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, he became the oldest serving Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.