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Why is Karunanidhi called Kalaignar?

By Vikas

Chennai, Aug 8: Those who are not from Tamil Nadu or do not follow the politics of the state may wonder why the epithet 'Kalaignar' is used by DMK cadres while referring to former Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi, who passed away on Tuesday evening.

File photo of Karunanidhi

Karunanidhi was not only a tall figure in Tamil Nadu politics but also a prolific writer. Before entering politics he worked in the Tamil film industry as a screenwriter. He has also made contributions to Tamil literature, having written stories, plays, novels, and a multiple-volume memoir. He was seen as someone having brilliant command over Tamil language.

The word Kalaignar in Tamil translates to "scholar of arts". It is used for Karunanidhi because he was master of language, he could weave magic with words. For those wo do speak Tamil, the correct pronounciation is "Ka-lai-nyar", the "ga" sound is left out.

Karunanidhi is known for his contributions to Tamil literature. He has written Kuraloviam for Thirukural, Tholkaappiya Poonga, Poombukar, as well as many poems, essays and books. Apart from literature, Karunanidhi has also contributed to the Tamil language through art and architecture.

The books written by Karunanidhi include Sanga Thamizh, Thirukkural Urai, Ponnar Sankar, Romapuri Pandian, Thenpandi Singam, Vellikizhamai, Nenjukku Needhi, Iniyavai Irubathu and Kuraloviam. His books of prose and poetry number more than 100.

Karunanidhi's famous line "En uyirinum melana kazhaga udanpirappugaley (my dear brothers in party who are are above my life)," in his unmistakable baritone, used to send DMK workers into raptures.

Five times Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and 12 times MLA M Karunanidhi passed away at Chennai's Kauvery Hospital on Tuesday. 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.

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.

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