Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief Muthuvel Karunanidhi, popularly known as ‘Kalaignar’ is easily one of the tallest political leaders from Tamil Nadu. An orator, novel writer, lyricist, script writer and politician, Karunanidhi is considered one of the greatest intellectuals of the era.
Karunanidhi started his career as a screenwriter in the Tamil film industry. The DMK leader was just 14 when he entered politics and has a long stint in the DMK party. Karunanidhi is also one of the only leaders to have served as a party chief for 50 years.
Kalaignar was drawn towards the ideology of Periyar (EV Ramasamy) who founded the Dravida Kazhagam. He shot into prominence when he organised anti-Hindi agitation in 1937-40.
The 94-year-old DMK leader passed away at Kauvery Hospital Chennai on Tuesday.
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Here are the 10 facts you need to know about the DMK leader:
1. Karunanidhi served as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for five separate terms. He was declared leader of the DMK party in 1969 after the death of its founder- C N Annadurai.
2. The DMK leader started Murasoli newspaper, which is now a weekly journal and the official organ of the DMK.
3. Karunanidhi published six volumes of his autobiography- Nenjukku Neethi since 1975.
4. Karunanidhi personally never lost any election he contested, ever since he won for the first time in assembly elections in 1951. He has won all the 13 elections he contested in, the latest being the 2016 general elections from Tiruvarur.
5. In 1957, Karunanidhi was elected to the Tamil Nadu assembly from Kulithalai assembly and soon became the party treasurer and in 1962 became the deputy leader of opposition. When Annadurai passed away in 1969, Karunanidhi outsmarted all the others to emerge as the chief minister.
6. Karunanidhi received ‘Raja Rajan Award’ from Tamil University, Thanjavur for his book “Thenpandi Singam”.
7. Karunanidhi was never convicted even in a single case.
8. Karunanidhi survived two major splits and held the party together at trying times when the DMK was out of power for 12-long years between 1977 and 1989.
9. Karunanidhi has contributed much to Tamil literature- with scores of poems, novels, plays, articles and communication tools propagating ideologies made him a natural choice and recipient of honorific title of Kalaignar or loosely translated – Scholar of Arts. He has written for Kuraloviam for Tholkaappiya Poonga, Thirukural and Poombukar.
10. Karunanidhi has written numerous screenplays including Rajakumaari, Devaki, Thirumbi Paar, Naam, Manohara, Malaikkallan,Rangoon Radha, Kuravanji, Kaanchi Thalaivan, Thayillapillai and Poompuhar, Poomalai.