Karunanidhi M Biography
M. Karunanidhi, (respectfully called as "Kalaignar" Karunanidhi) (Tamil: மு. கருணாநிதி), is an Indian politician and the current Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. He is the head of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, a Dravidian political party in the state of Tamil Nadu. He has been the leader of the DMK since the death of its founder C.N. Annadurai in 1969.
He has been the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu five times (1969-71, 1971-76, 1989-91, 1996-2001 and 2006-present). He holds the record of winning his seat in every election that he has contested in his political career spanning over 60 years.
In the 2004 Lok Sabha Elections, he led the DMK-led DPA (UPA and Left Parties) in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to win all 40 Lok Sabha seats. In the following 2009 Lok Sabha Elections, he was able to increase the number of seats for the DMK from 16 to 18 seats, and led the UPA in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, to win 28 seats, even with a significantly smaller coalition. He is also a play and movie script writer in Tamil.
Karunanidhi was born as Dakshinamurthy in Thirukuvalai in Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu on 3 June 1924 to Muthuvel and Anjugam.
Karunanidhi began his career as a scriptwriter in the Tamil film industry. Through his wit and oratorical skills he rapidly rise as a popular politician. He was famous for writing historical and social (reformist) stories which propagated the socialist and rationalist ideals of the Dravidian movement to which he belonged. He started using Tamil cinema for propagating his political ideas first through the movie Parasakthi.
Parasakthi was a turning point in Tamil cinema as it espoused ideologies of the Dravidian movement and also introduced two prominent actors of Tamil filmdom, Sivaji Ganesan and S. S. Rajendran. The movie was initially banned but was finally released in 1952. It was a huge box office hit, but yet it was marred with controversies. The movie was opposed by orthodox Hindus since it contained elements that criticized Brahmanism.
Two of his other movies which contained such messages were Panam and Thangarathnam These movies contained themes on widow remarriage, abolition of untouchability, self-respect marriages, abolition of zamindari and abolition of religious hypocrisy. As his movies and plays with strong social messages became popular they suffered from increased censorship and two of his plays in 1950s were banned.
Entry into politics
Karunanidhi entered politics at the age of 14 inspired listening to a speech by Alagiriswamii of the Justice Party by whom he was greatly influenced in 1932 and participated in Anti-Hindi agitations. He founded an organisation for the local youth of his locality. He circulated a hand written newspaper called Manavar Nesan to its members. Later he founded a student organisation called Tamil Nadu Tamil Manavar Manram which was the first student wing of the Dravidan Movement.
Karunanidhi involved himself and the student community in social work with other members he would visit the nearby hutments to do all that was possible within his limit. Here he started a newspaper for its members which grew into Murasoli newspaper which is the DMK party's official newspaper.
The first major protest that aided Karunanidhi in gaining ground in Tamil politics was his involvement in an anti-Hindi protest in Kallakudi. This industrial town was then called as Dalmiapuram after a cement mogul from North India. In the protest Karunanidhi and his companions erased the Hindi name from the railway station and lay down on the tracks blocking the course of trains. Two people died in the protest and Karunanidhi was arrested.
Rise to Power
Karunanidhi was first elected to the Tamil Nadu assembly in 1957 from the Kulithalai assembly of Thiruchirapalli district. He became the DMK treasurer in 1961 and deputy leader of opposition in the state assembly in the year 1962 and when the DMK came to power in 1967, he became the minister for public works. When Annadurai expired in 1969, Karunanidhi became the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu. He has held various positions in the party and government during his long career in Tamil Nadu political arena.
He took over a chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on 13 May 2006 after his coalition defeated his main opponent J. Jayalalithaa in the May 2006 elections. He currently represents the constituency of Chepauk in Central Chennai in the Tamil Nadu state Legislative Assembly. He has been elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly 11 times and once to the now abolished Tamil Nadu Legislative Council.
Karunanidhi is known for his knowledge in and contribution for Tamil literature. His contributions cover a wide area like poem, letters, screenplays, novels, biographies, historic novels, stageplays, dialogues, songs etc. He has crafted 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. Like the Kuraloviyam which Kalaignar wrote about Thirukkural, he through the construction of Valluvar Kottam gave an architectural presence to Thiruvalluvar, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. At Kanniyakumari, Karunanidhi has constructed a 133 feet high statue of Thiruvalluvar which portrays his feelings to the great immortal scholar.
At the age of 20, Karunanidhi went to work for Jupiter Pictures as a script writer. His first film Rajakumaari, gained him much popularity. It was here that his skills as a script writer were honed.
Editor and Publisher
He started Murasoli on 10.8.1942. He was the Founder-Editor, Publisher of " Murasoli" during his boyhood as a monthly, then a weekly, and now a daily. He used his talents as a journalist and cartoonist to bring issues relevant to his political ideology before the public. He writes daily letters addressed to his party workers by name; he has been writing these for over 50 years. In addition he has served as Editor for "Kudiyarasu" and gave life to journal - ' Mutharam'. He is the founder of State Governments News Reel, Arasu Studio and also the Government Journal "Tamil Arasu " published in Tamil and English.
World Tamil Conference
He has delivered the Special address on the inaugural day of 3rd World Tamil Conference held in Paris in the year 1970 and also on the inaugural day of 6th World Tamil Conference held in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) in the year 1987
He has been indicted by the Sarkaria commission for corruption in allotting tenders for the Veeranam project. Indra Gandhi dismissed the Karunanidhi government based on charges of possible secession and corruption. Karunanidhi, the former chief secretary, K.A. Nambiar, and a host of others were arrested in the wee hours of Saturday, on charges of corruption in the construction of flyovers in Chennai.
This high handedness of the then incumbent government was deflected by the judicial wisdom and courage of the then principal sessions judge of Chennai, Justice S. Ashok Kumar. He and his party members where charged under Sections 120(b) (criminal conspiracy), 167 (public servant framing an incorrect document with intent to cause injury), 420 (cheating) and 409 (criminal breach of trust) of the IPC, and Section 13 (2) read with 13 (1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, but no prima facie evidence was found against him and his son M K Stalin.
Connections with LTTE
The Interim report of Justice Jain Commission which oversaw the investigation into Rajiv Gandhi's assassination indicted Karunanidhi for abetting the LTTE. He supports LTTE currently. The interim report, recommended that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and the DMK party be held responsible for abetting Rajiv Gandhi's murderers. The final report contained no such allegations .
In April 2009, Karunanidhi made a controversial remark that "...Prabhakaran is my good friend...". and also said "India could not forgive the LTTE for assassinating Rajiv Gandhi"
Promoting Dynasty Rule
Karunanidhi has been accused by opponents, many of his party members and some political observers of trying to promote nepotism and start a political dynasty along the lines of the Nehru-Gandhi family. Vaiko who quit the DMK has been the most vocal. Political observers say that Vaiko was sidelined as he was seen as a threat to M.K. Stalin and other family members.
His nephew, the late Murasoli Maran was a Union Minister however it has been pointed out that he was in politics much before Karunanidhi became the Chief Minister in 1969.He was arrested several times including the Anti-Hindi agitations in 1965. He was asked to contest the by-election for South Madras in 1967 and the nomination papers were signed by Rajaji, Annadurai and Mohammed Ismail(Quaid-e-Milleth) clearly showing that his political career did not raise only due to Karunanidhi.
Many political opponents and DMK Party senior leaders have been critical and perturbed about the rise of M.K. Stalin in the party. But some of the party men have pointed out that M.K. Stalin has come up on his own. He has faced a lot of hardship since 1975 when he was jailed under MISA was beaten up in jail so brutally during the Emergency that fellow DMK Party prisoner died trying to save him..
Stalin was a MLA in 1989 and 1996 when his father Karunanidhi was the Chief Minister but he was not inducted into the Cabinet. He contested and became Chennai's 44 mayor but the first directly elected Mayor in 1996. It was only in his 4th term as MLA has he been made a Minister in the Karunanidhi cabinet and his rise is slow but steady.
Karunanidhi has been accused of helping Murasoli Maran's son Kalanidhi Maran who runs Sun Network, India's second largest television network and according to Forbes, Kalanidhi is among India's Richest 20 with $1.9 Billion.. Again commentators say that he raised himself into the position on his own merit and even Karunanidhi's sons have achieved nothing compared to him which has been a cause of friction between them. His channels have been the mouth organ of the DMK party (until recent time) and balanced the Jaya TV of the AIADMK.
Another son of Maran's, Dayanidhi Maran is a Former Union Minister for Communications & IT portfolio, not broadcasting ministry, which is responsible for TV networks. It is a well known and often-argued fact that Dayanidhi Maran has been thrown out of his IT and Communications portfolio at Center (he was a Union Minister for IT and Communications) because the Dinakaran Newspaper (run by the Maran brothers) has shown M.K. Stalin of having the possibility to be the next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu which created a bloody violence in the Madurai branch of Dinakaran office (carried out by M.K. Azhagiri), causing the death of three employees. This is again seen as a result of the Dynasty-Controversy in Karunanidhi's family.
It has been pointed out that Karunanidhi has hesitated to take action against his erring family members, though he has expelled his other sons M.K. Muthu and M.K. Azhagiri when they were guilty of wrong doing and similarly removed Dayanidhi Maran from the position of Union Minister (because of the reason stated in the previous paragraph).
Of late, he has been accused of not taking action against M.K. Azhagiri after his supporters attacked the newspaper office of Dinakaran killing 3 people (as stated above). M.K. Azhagiri is the prime accused in the murder case of the former DMK Minister Kiruttinan. Karunanidhi is also accused of allowing Azhagiri to function as an extra constitutional authority in Madurai through he has never held a party post and is a liability to the party and not yet expelled from the party The Dinakaran newspaper case was handed over to the CBI. But, the District and Sessions court acquitted all the 17 accused in that case. So far, the case has not been appealed in a higher court to identify and punish the perpetrators of the crime.
Further, his daughter Kanimozhi has been nominated for a Rajya Sabha post even though she has done very little for the party as pointed out by critics and many of his party members.
To make matters worse, now M.K. Stalin has been made the Deputy Chief Minister signalling clearly to party cadres and leaders that he will be the successor of Karunanidhi, not only in his family but also in his party, thus reducing the party that once stood for democratic functioning and socialistic principles into a family fief-dom. Now, the power is being shared only within the family and all the key posts passed only among the family members just like the old Zamindari / Dynastic rulers. However, it is apparently true that M.K. Stalin has been accepted as a flamboyant performer as an Administrator in his current position, by various members of even opposition parties including AIADMK.
Pampered by praises
Recently, Karunanidhi is being perceived as a person who desires to receive felicitations and awards for the regular duty he performs as the Chief minister of the State. The function organised by the Tamil Film Industry is a particular example which gives an impression of the Courtesans dancing and poets singing flattery in front of a King.
He was a non vegetarian now turned vegetarian. He has claimed that the secret of his energy and success lies in yoga and daily practice. He has married three times his wives are Mrs. Padmavathy, Mrs. Dayalu Ammal and Mrs. Rajathiammal.
His sons are M.K Muthu, M.K. Azhagiri, M.K. Stalin, M.K Tamilarasu and daughters are Selvi and Kanimozhi. Kanimozhi is a Rajya Sabha MP.
Padmavathy, who died early bore him M.K. Muthu, his eldest son. Azhagiri, Stalin, Selvi and Tamilarasu are born to Dayaluammal, while Kanimozhi is the only daughter from his third wife Rajathiammal.