|Full Name||Muthuvel Karunanidhi|
|Nickname(s)||Kalaignar, Doctor Kalaignar, The Great Communicator|
|Famous For||Being the DMK Chief and Icon of Dravidian Politics|
|Physical Stats & More|
|Height (approx.)||in centimeters- 165 cm
in meters- 1.65 m
in feet inches- 5’ 5”
|Weight (approx.)||in kilograms- 65 kg
in pounds- 143 lbs
|Hair Colour||White (Semi-bald)|
|Political Party||Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)
|Political Journey||1938- Entered politics at just 14 by leading an anti-Hindi protest in Tiruvarur. He then circulated Manavar Nesan, a handwritten newspaper to its members. He later found Tamil Nadu Tamil Manavar Mandram, the first student wing of Dravidian Movement.
1949- Became an icon of the Dravidian Movement and emerged as the leader of the DMK
1957- Elected to the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly from Kulithalai seat of Tiruchirapalli district
1961- Became the DMK treasurer and deputy leader of opposition in the state assembly
1967- Became the Minister of Public Works in the DMK Government
1969- Became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for the 1st time, became the President of the DMK
1971- Became the Chief Mister of Tamil Nadu for the 2nd time
1976- The DMK Government was dismissed after the Emergency
1989- Became the Chief Mister of Tamil Nadu for the 3rd time
1996- Became the Chief Mister of Tamil Nadu for the 4th time
2006- Became the Chief Mister of Tamil Nadu for the 5th time
|Date of Birth||3 June 1924|
|Birthplace||Thirukuvalai, Tanjore District, Madras Presidency, British India|
|Date of Death||7 August 2018|
|Place of Death||Kauvery Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India|
|Age (at the time of death)||94 Years|
|Death Cause||Chronic Illness (Urinary Tract Infection)|
|Burial Site||Marina Beach|
|Zodiac sign/Sun sign||Gemini|
|Hometown||Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India|
|School||Board High School, Tiruvarur
|Educational Qualification||8th Standard|
|Debut||Tamil Film Industry- Rajakumari was the first film for which he wrote the script back in 1947 which gained him popularity he needed to continue in the field.
Politics- He was inspired by the speech of Alagiriswamii of the Justice Party and jumped to the politics at just 14 and participated in Anti-Hindu agitations.
|Religion||Atheism (Born - Hinduism)|
|Address||No. 15, 4th Street, Gopalapuram, Chennai
|Awards, Honours, Achievements||1971- Awarded an honorary doctorate by Annamalai University
1980s- Rajarajan Award for his book 'Thenpandi Singam' (1985)
2006- Awarded an honorary doctorate by the Governor of Tamil Nadu and the Chancellor of Madurai Kamaraj University, Surjit Singh Barnala on the occasion of the 40th annual convocation
|Controversies||• Sarkaria Commission accused Karunanidhi of his involvement in corruption in the allotment of tenders for Veeranam project for which, his government was dismissed by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
• In 2001, Karunanidhi, along with former Chief Secretary K.A. Nambiar, was arrested based on charges of corruption in the construction of flyovers in Chennai. He and his party members were charged under several sections of the IPC. However, no concrete evidence was found against them.
• In 2012, while celebrating the party's founding day, Karunanidhi and party workers were received by a group of people who were dressed portraying some of the Hindu gods.
• He once made a controversial remark against Sethusamudram controversy, questioning the existence of God and asking about the college from where Lord Rama graduated in Engineering for building the Ramar Sethu bridge.
• He had been accused of having links with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a militant group to create an independent state of Tamil Eelam in the north and east of Sri Lanka for Tamil people and encouraging them to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi. However, the final report had no such allegations on him.
• Some political observers, his party members, and opponents accused him of promoting nepotism (favouring the relatives) for helping his son M. K. Stalin to rise in the party.
|Girls, Affairs, and More|
|Marital Status (at the time of death)||Married|
|Wife/Spouse||First- Padmavathi (Died in 1944)
Second- Dayalu Ammal (m. 1948-till his death in 2018)
Third- Rajathi Ammal (m. late 1960s-till his death in 2018)
|Children||Sons- M. K. Alagiri (Politician, From Dayalu), M.K Stalin (Politician, From Dayalu), M. K. Tamilarasu (Producer, From Dayalu)
M. K. Muthu (From Padmavathi)
Daughters- Selvi Geetha Kovilam (From Dayalu), Kanimozhi (From Rajathi, Politician)
|Parents||Father- Muthuvelar Karunanidhi
Mother- Anjugam Karunanidhi
Sisters- Shanmugasundarath Ammal, Periyanayagam
|Favourite Food(s)||Rice Upma Sprinkled With Ghee, Seafood
|Favourite Cricketer(s)||Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni
|Favourite Actor||M. G. Ramachandran
|Car Collection||Toyota Alphard
|Assets/Properties||₹5 crore (Movable)|
|Salary (approx.)||₹37 lakh/year (as in 2011)
|Net Worth (approx.)||₹45 crore (as in 2014)
Some Lesser Known Facts About M. Karunanidhi
- Did M. Karunanidhi smoke: Not Known
- Did M. Karunanidhi drink alcohol: Not Known
- Karunanidhi was born into a poor Isai Vellalar family. The Isai Vellalars reportedly depended on temples for their livelihood and traditionally played the Nadaswaram; a double-reed wind instrument.
- When he was a school going kid, he developed an interest in drama, poetry, and literature.
- He learned his first lessons in politics from his music classes that reflected the caste issues of that era. Though his father wanted him to continue their family’s musical tradition, he wasn’t keen to do so.
- At the age of 14, he witnessed a speech by Alagiriswamy of the Justice Party, which inspired him so much that he made up his mind to enter the politics in the coming future.
- His political practices started when he became a student activist in Periyar’s Self-Respect Movement, which fought for the rights of the Dravidians. Following it, he founded an organisation called ‘Tamil Nadu Tamil Manavar Mandram’, which was the first student wing of the Dravidian Movement.
- In 1937, he made his political presence felt when he led the “Anti-Hindi” agitations as part of the Dravidian Movement when Hindi was made compulsory in schools. His oratorical skills, essays, newspaper articles, and theatre plays caught the attention of Periyar and his lieutenant C. N. Annadurai, who gave him the opportunity to address public meetings. His first promotion came when he was made the editor of the Dravidar Kazhagam party magazine, ‘Kudiyarasu.’
- After he got failed in 9th standard, he left his studies and resurrected his artistic love by starting his cinema career as a screenwriter and wrote many stories, plays, and novels.
- He always considered his newspaper ‘Murasoli’ as his first child that he launched in 1942, which was initially a monthly, and later, became the official newspaper of the DMK.
- On the personal front, he got married to Padmavathi in the early 1940s, however, she died in 1944. Four years later, he got remarried to Dayalu Ammal from whom he had 3 sons M. K. Alagiri, M. K. Stalin, Thamizharasu and a daughter Selvi. He also had a daughter, Kanimozhi, from his partner Rajathi Ammal.
- Alongside finding his feet in politics, he started writing scripts for Tamil films at the age of 20. He got the much-needed fame in 1947 for ‘Rajakumari’ that gave him a boost, and the number just got increasing and reached the 75th mark. As a scriptwriter, he used to earn more than ₹10,000 a month in the late 1940s. He also wrote the script of ‘Parashakti’ (1952), the debut movie of Sivaji Ganeshan.
- After India’s Independence in 1947, Periyar’s “Anti-Hindi” Movement broke into two parts, after which Karunanidhi jointed the part led by Annadurai who went on to form the DMK in 1949. Annadurai became his “political guru” and the ideology of DMK to be the antithesis of Congress, perfectly suited the ambitions of Karunanidhi.
- Initially, he used to gather crowds and raise funds for the DMK that gradually raised his stature in the party.
- In 1957, he was first elected to the Tamil Nadu Assembly from the Kulithalai seat of Tiruchirapalli district. And, in 1961, he was appointed the DMK Treasurer, and a year later, the Deputy Leader of Opposition in the state assembly.
- His married life with Dayalu was running smoothly until Rajathi Ammal entered his life as a “partner” in the 1960s. However, this marriage became troublesome when Karunanidhi preferred to refer Rajathi Ammal as his daughter Kanimozhi’s mother. Karunanidhi knew that he couldn’t marry Rajathi as per The Hindu Marriage Act 1955, as it would have been an illegal marriage. Therefore, he got married to her as per DMK’s new marriage tradition- ‘Swayam Maryada Kalyanam.’
- After the death of Annadurai in 1969, Karunanidhi succeeded him and became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu with the help of his once friend M.G. Ramachandran (MGR).
- In the same year, after the draughts in Tamil Nadu, he had called on the then Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Morarji Desai and requested him for a relief fund of ₹5 crore to which Morarji replied, “I don’t have money growing trees in my garden.” Karunanidhi sarcastically replied and said, “When there is no money growing trees, how could they be found in your garden?”
- In 1971, under his leadership, DMK registered its first big win in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly elections. The very next year, MGR split from the DMK and formed, the AIADMK, after he was denied a cabinet post, and after the close friends turned into arch-rivals.
- In the late 1960s, he met with an accident that damaged his left eye. Since then, he started wearing glasses upon the medical recommendation.
- His autobiography, ‘Nenjukku Neethi,’ has been published in 6 volumes since 1975.
- In 1975, when the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi called for an “Emergency” in India, Karunanidhi’s government, like other state governments, was dismissed in 1976. In the 1977 elections, the AIADMK led by MGR thrashed the DMK and stayed in power till his death in 1989, after which the DMK capitalised and made a comeback after a long gap of 13 years.
- In 1980, he met the boxing legend, Muhammed Ali, when he came to Chennai for a guest match.
- The same year, on 25 March, an unfortunate incident happened at the Tamil Nadu Assembly when Jayalalithaa was the Opposition Leader and Karunanidhi was Chief Minister. The Assembly was witnessing the ugly war of words between the members of DMK and AIADMK. It became even more dramatic when Jayalalithaa pointed to her saree and said, “My saree was pulled and torn,” and pointed the finger towards, Durai Murugan, the then Minister in the DMK Cabinet, and his colleague, Veerapandi Arumugham for the “shameful act”. Jayalalithaa took the political mileage out of it by using this incident in her 1991 election campaign, which changed the course of Tamil Nadu politics forever.
- Karunanidhi wrote the official theme song, ‘Semmozhiyaana Tamizh Mozhiyaam,’ for the World Classical Tamil Conference 2010, which was tuned by A. R. Rahman.
- He has been fondly called “Kalaignar” for his interest in arts and literature.
- In his political career of over 61 years, he had never lost an election. The only time he struggled was in 1991, as he won the election by a margin of just 890 votes.
- There was a time when he overshadowed AIADMK with his populist schemes and welfare programs like- Kalaignar Kappeetu Thittam (a health scheme), Varumun Kappom (health check-up camps), Uzhavar Sandhais (farmers’ markets), Namakku Naame Thittam (self-sufficiency), Anaithu Grama Anna Marumalarchi Thittam (injection of resources into village panchayat), Moovalur Ramamirtham (marriage assistance to poor women, noon meal programme, free bus passes for students, and the waiver of cooperative loans), etc.
- He used to follow a strict Yoga regime that began at 4:30 am; following with a walk at Anna Arivalayam.
- He was an avid dog lover and his favourite dog was “Khanna,” a Lhasa apso-type dog. He had so much affection for his dogs that when his dog, Blackie, a Dachshund died, he didn’t eat non-vegetarian food for almost 2 years.
- In 2008, he started getting the back pain trouble, and in 2009, he went through a surgery that didn’t succeed and forced him to take the support of a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
- His family owns Sun TV and Kalaignar TV, one of the biggest media houses in Tamil Nadu.
- He made his son M. K. Stalin as his political successor whom he had named after Joseph Stalin (a Soviet revolutionary) who died 4 days later of M. K. Stalin’s birth.
- He witnessed his last defeat in 2016 when the DMK lost the assembly elections to AIADMK; mainly due to the corruption allegations against his party and family members, more specifically, the 2G Spectrum Scam.
- On 7 August 2018, around 6:40 pm, it was announced that M Karunanidhi died after a 10 days long battle for life and was laid to rest at Marina Beach’s Anna Memorial in Chennai.
For M. Karunanidhi’s detailed life story and political journey Click Here!
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