M. Karunanidhi

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M. Karunanidhi
Karunanidhi pay homage to Manorama.JPG
3rd Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
In office
13 May 2006 – 15 May 2011
Preceded by J. Jayalalithaa
Succeeded by J. Jayalalithaa
Constituency Chepauk
In office
13 May 1996 – 13 May 2001
Preceded by J. Jayalalithaa
Succeeded by O. Panneerselvam
Constituency Chepauk
In office
27 January 1989 – 30 January 1991
Preceded by Janaki Ramachandran
Succeeded by J. Jayalalithaa
Constituency Harbour
In office
15 March 1971 – 31 January 1976
Preceded by President's rule
Succeeded by President's rule
Constituency Saidapet
In office
10 February 1969 – 4 January 1971
Preceded by V. R. Nedunchezhiyan (acting)
Succeeded by President's rule
Constituency Saidapet
Personal details
Born Daksinamoorthy
(1924-06-03) 3 June 1924 (age 93)
Thirukuvalai, Madras Presidency, British India
(now in Tamil Nadu, India)
Nationality Indian
Political party Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Other political
Justice Party[1]
Spouse(s) Padmavathi (deceased)
Children M. K. Muthu
M. K. Alagiri
M. K. Stalin
M. K. Tamilarasu
M. K. Selvi
M. K. Kanimozhi
Residence Gopalapuram, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Website Official website

Muthuvel Karunanidhi (born 3 June 1924[2][3][4])[5][6] is the leader of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and 3rd Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. He became Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for the first time in 1969. On 13 May 2006, he became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for the fifth time. He is also known for his writing works in the Tamil film industry. During the Thooku Medai play, M. R. Radha gave him the title of Kalaignar, which he is still called by his supporters till date.

Early life and family[edit]

Born in Thirukkuvalai village in Nagapattinam district, he was born as a son of Muthuvelu and Anjugam Ammal. His original name is Dakshinamurthy.Karunanidhi was more interested in drama, poetry, and literature during his school season. Karunanidhi, who was inspired by the speaker Azhagirisamy,[7] considered the pillar of the Justice Party, completely engaged in social movements at his 14th age. With the help of some of his students in the field of youth, the "youth revitalized the organization". The organization helped young people develop their inspiration and writing. After some time, the state was formed as a state-level "All Students Club." This was the first student division of the Dravidian movement. Karunanidhi also engaged the student community in social work with other members. DMK The party's official newspaper, Murasoli, started developing a newspaper for its members. The first major opposition to Karunanidhi's support for Tamil politics involved in the Kallukudi[8] demonstration (1953). The original name of this industrial city is Kallagudi. Dalmiya, which set up a cement plant is from North India and changed the original name Kallakkudi to Dalmiyapuram. DMK opposed the name change as it was seen as North Indian oppression of Tamil Nadu. Karunanidhi and his comrades posted papers on the name "Dalmiyaapuram" in the railway station name board and block the passage of the trains. Two people died in the demonstration by the police action and Karunanidhi was arrested.[9][8]


Karunanidhi began his career as a screenwriter in the Tamil film industry.[10] Through his wit and oratorical skills he rapidly rose 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 first began using Tamil cinema to propagate his political ideas through the movie Parasakthi.[11] Parasakthi was a turning point in Tamil cinema, as it espoused the ideologies of the Dravidian movement and also introduced two prominent actors of Tamil filmdom, Sivaji Ganesan and S. S. Rajendran.[12] The movie was initially banned but was eventually released in 1952.[12] It was a huge box office hit, but its release was marred with controversies. The movie was opposed by orthodox Hindus since it contained elements that criticized Brahmanism.[13] Two other movies written by Karunanidhi that contained such messages were Panam and Thangarathnam.[11] These movies contained themes such as widow remarriage, abolition of untouchability, self-respect marriages, abolition of zamindari and abolition of religious hypocrisy.[12] As his movies and plays with strong social messages became popular, they suffered from increased censorship; two of his plays in the 1950s were banned.[12]

Karunanidhi rose to fame as a scriptwriter for the Modern Theatres Studio in Salem about 350 kilometers from Madras or present day Chennai. T R Sundaram, the owner of Modern Theatres Studio at Yercaud foot hills, was instrumental in honouring the talents of Karunanidhi, Jayalalithaa and M G Ramachandran.


Karunanidhi is known for his contributions to Tamil literature. His contributions cover a wide range: poems, letters, screenplays, novels, biographies, historical novels, stage-plays, dialogues and movie songs. 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. Like the Kuraloviyam, in which Kalaignar wrote about Thirukkural, through the construction of Valluvar Kottam he gave an architectural presence to Thiruvalluvar, in Chennai. At Kanyakumari, Karunanidhi constructed a 133-foot-high statue of Thiruvalluvar in honour of the scholar.

The books written by Karunanidhi's 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 stage plays include: Manimagudam, Ore Ratham, Palaniappan, Thooku Medai, Kagithapoo, Naane Arivali, Vellikizhamai, Udhayasooriyan and Silappathikaram.


At the age of 20, Karunanidhi went to work for Jupiter Pictures as a scriptwriter. His first film, Rajakumaari, gained him much popularity. It was here that his skills as a scriptwriter were honed, which extended to several films.


Entry into politics[edit]

Karunanidhi entered politics at the age of 14, inspired by a speech by Alagiriswamii of the Justice Party, and participated in Anti-Hindi agitations. He founded an organisation for the local youth of his locality. He circulated a handwritten newspaper called Manavar Nesan to its members. Later he founded a student organisation called Tamil Nadu Tamil Manavar Mandram, which was the first student wing of the Dravidan Movement. Karunanidhi involved himself and the student community in social work with other members. Here he started a newspaper for its members, which grew into Murasoli, the DMK party's official newspaper.

The first major protest that aided Karunanidhi in gaining ground in Tamil politics was his involvement in the Kallakudi agitation in Kallakudi. Original name of this industrial town was Kallakudi and it was changed to Dalmiapuram after a cement mogul who built a cement plant there. DMK wanted to change the name back to Kallakudi. In the protest Karunanidhi and his companions erased the name Dalmiapuram 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.[14]

Rise to power[edit]

At the age of 33, Karunanidhi entered the Tamil Nadu assembly winning the Kulithalai seat in the 1957 election. 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 Tamil Nadu and the first leader of DMK, since the leader post was left vacant for Periyar when Annadurai was alive (Annadurai was the general secretary only). He has held various positions in the party and government during his long career in Tamil Nadu political arena. However, he suffered multiple electoral defeats against his primary opponent M.G.Ramachandran's ADMK until the latter's death in 1987.

After a brief stint as Chief Minister during the late 1980s (his government was dismissed by the Central government on accusations of degrading Law and Order situation in the state), Karunanidhi became the CM of Tamil Nadu in 1996 following a sweeping electoral win in the preceding elections. Following a 5-year rule, his party again lost at the elections to J. Jayalalithaa's AIADMK in 2001. He was however back in power when he took over as chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on 13 May 2006 after his coalition defeated his main opponent J. Jayalalithaa in the May 2006 elections.[15] He currently represents the constituency of Tiruvarur in the Tamil Nadu state Legislative Assembly. He has been elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly 12 times and once to the now abolished Tamil Nadu Legislative Council. At the end of the 5-year administration, the DMK lost the majority of seats in the legislative assembly of Tamil Nadu when elections were held in 2011, thereby ceding power again to the AIADMK under J. Jayalalithaa.

World Tamil Conference[edit]

He delivered the special address on the inaugural day of 3rd World Tamil Conference held in Paris in 1970, and also on the inaugural day of 6th World Tamil Conference held in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) in 1987. He penned the song "Semmozhiyaana Tamizh Mozhiyaam", the official theme song for the World Classical Tamil Conference 2010, that was set to tune by A. R. Rahman.[16]

Awards and titles[edit]

  • Annamalai University awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1971.[17]
  • He was awarded "Raja Rajan Award" by Tamil University, Thanjavur for his book Thenpandi Singam.[17]
  • On 15 December 2006, the Governor of Tamil Nadu and the Chancellor of Madurai Kamaraj University, Surjit Singh Barnala conferred an honorary doctorate on the Chief Minister on the occasion of the 40th annual convocation.
  • In June 2007,[18][19][20] the Tamil Nadu Muslim Makkal Katchi announced that it would confer the title "Friend of the Muslim Community" (Yaaran-E-Millath) upon M. Karunanidhi.


He has been indicted by the Sarkaria commission for corruption in allotting tenders for the Veeranam project.[21] Indira Gandhi dismissed the Karunanidhi government based on charges of possible secession and corruption. In 2001, He was arrested on the charges of corruption in the construction of flyovers in Chennai.[22] He and his party members were also charged under four Sections like IPC 120(b), IPC 167, IPC 420 and IPC 409.[23]

Ram Setu remarks[edit]

In response to the Sethusamudram controversy, Karunanidhi questioned the existence of the Hindu God Rama. He said 'It is said that there was a God thousands of years ago called Ram.Do not touch the bridge built by him. I ask who is this Ram? Which engineering college did he graduate from?" His remarks caused a firestorm of controversy. BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad accused Karunanidhi of religious discrimination when noting "We would like to know from Karunanidhi if he would make a similar statement against religious head of any other religion; chance are he may not."[24]

Connections with LTTE[edit]

The interim report of Justice Jain Commission, which oversaw the investigation into Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, indicted Karunanidhi for abetting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).[25] 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.[26] In April 2009, in an interview to NDTV, Karunanidhi made a controversial remark stating that "Prabhakaran is my good friend" and also said, "India could not forgive the LTTE for assassinating Rajiv Gandhi".[27][28][29]

Allegations of nepotism[edit]

Karunanidhi has been accused by opponents, by some members of his party, and by other political observers of trying to promote nepotism.[30][page needed] Many political opponents and DMK party senior leaders have been critical of the rise of M. K. Stalin in the party.[citation needed] But some of the party men have pointed out that Stalin has come up on his own. He has faced a lot of hardship since 1975, when he was jailed under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) and was beaten up in jail so brutally during the Emergency that a fellow DMK party prisoner died trying to save him.[31] Stalin was an MLA in 1989 and 1996 when his father Karunanidhi was the Chief Minister, but he was not inducted into the Cabinet. He became Chennai's 44th mayor and its first directly elected mayor in 1996. It was only in his fourth term as MLA that he was made a Minister in the Karunanidhi cabinet and then in 2009 was made the Deputy Chief Minister. His daughter Kanimozhi is a Rajya Sabha MP now.

Involvement in 2G case[edit]

As per the chargesheet filed by CBI, Kanimozhi has 100% stake in her family owned Kalaignar TV, her step-mother Dayalu owns 60% stake in the same channel. CBI alleges that Kanimozhi was an "active brain" behind the channel's operations and she worked along with former telecom minister A. Raja to get DB Realty promoter Shahid Balwa to circuitously route 2 billion (US$36.2 million) to Kalaignar TV. According to CBI, Kanimozhi was in regular touch with A Raja regarding launching of Kalaignar TV channel and its other pending works. CBI alleges that A Raja was further pursuing the cause of Kalaignar TV not only for getting registration of the company from Ministry of Information and Broadcasting but also for getting it in the DTH operator TATA Sky's bouquet. She was also summoned by the Income Tax Department, Chennai for alleged tax evasion charges.[citation needed]

On 3 July 2012, briefing the Joint parliamentary committee probing the scam, ED claimed that it has enough evidence to convict DMK chief Karunanidhi's wife and daughter Kanimozhi.[32]

Elections contested and positions held[edit]

Year Constituency Result Vote percentage Opposition Candidate Opposition Party Opposition vote percentage
1957 Kulithalai Won K. A. Dharmalingam INC
1962 Thanjavur Won A. Y. S. Parisutha Nadar INC
1967 Saidapet Won S. G. Vinayagamurthy INC
1971 Saidapet Won N. Kamalingam INC
1977 Anna Nagar Won 50.1 G. Krishnamurthy ADMK 30.98[33]
1980 Anna Nagar Won 48.97 H.V.Hande ADMK 48.31[33]
1989 Harbour Won 59.76 K.A.Wahab Muslim League 13.84[34]
1991 Harbour Won 48.66 K. Suppu ADMK 47.26[34]
1996 Chepauk Won 77.05 N.S. Nellai Kannan INC 17.24[35]
2001 Chepauk Won 51.91 R. Damodharan INC 43.5[35]
2006 Chepauk Won 50.96 Dawood Miah Khan Independent 38.25[35]
2011 Thiruvarur Won 62.9 M. Rajendran ADMK 33.93[36]
2016 Thiruvarur Won R. Pannerselvam ADMK

Posts in legislature[edit]

Assembly From To Position Party - Number of seats
/Seats contested
Third Assembly 1962 1967 Deputy Leader of the Opposition 50/143[37]
Fourth Assembly 1967 1969 State Minister for Public Works 138/233[38]
Fourth Assembly 10 February 1969 5 January 1971 Chief Minister (1)[39] 136/233[40]
Fifth Assembly 15 March 1971 31 January 1976 Chief Minister (2)[39] 182/203[41]
Sixth Assembly 25 July 1977 17 February 1980 Leader of the Opposition (1)[39] 48/230[42]
Seventh Assembly 27 June 1980 18 August 1983 Leader of the Opposition (2)[39] 37/112[43]
Ninth Assembly 27 January 1989 30 January 1991 Chief Minister (3)[39] 150/202[44]
Tenth Assembly 26 April 1991 30 March 1996 Leader of the Opposition (3)[39] 90/202[45]
Eleventh Assembly 13 May 1996 14 May 2001 Chief Minister (4)[39] 173/182[46]
Thirteenth Assembly 13 May 2006 14 May 2011 Chief Minister (5)[39] 96/132[47]
Fourteenth Assembly 16 May 2011 19 May 2016 MLA 23/124
Fifthteenth Assembly 19 May 2016 Present MLA 89/176

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "People have given me rest: Karunanidhi". Sanjay Pinto. NDTV. 14 May 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2018. 
  2. ^ Profile of Muthuvel Karunanidhi
  3. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-36253790
  4. ^ https://www.rulers.org/indexk1.html
  5. ^ Mohan, Gopu (31 May 2009). "Karunanidhi's Kutumbam". The Indian Express. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "With Them / Against Them: The DMK's bitter battles with the state BJP continue, so how long can they hang on at the Centre?". Outlook India. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  7. ^ "Dr. Kalaignar M Karunanidhi". www.kalaignarkarunanidhi.com. 
  8. ^ a b "DMK and Karunanidhi - Dalmiyapuram - Kallakudi Agitation (1953)". www.tamiltribune.com. 
  9. ^ Ramaswamy, Sumathi (20 November 1997). "Passions of the Tongue: Language Devotion in Tamil India, 1891–1970". University of California Press – via Google Books. 
  10. ^ "The Last Lear – The Long Profile of Karunanidhi in The Caravan". The Caravan India. Archived from the original on 26 March 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Guneratne 2003, p. 216
  12. ^ a b c d Hardgrave, Jr, Robert L (1973). "Politics and the Film in Tamilnadu: The Stars and the DMK". Asian Survey. 13 (3): 288–305. doi:10.1525/as.1973.13.3.01p0314o. 
  13. ^ A., Srivathsan (12 June 2006). "Films and the politics of convenience". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  14. ^ Ramaswamy 1997, p. 226
  15. ^ Krishnakumar (25 April 2006). "The Sachin of TN politics". Rediff.com. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  16. ^ T., Ramakrishnan (16 May 2010). "Front Page : Theme song launched for world classical Tamil meet". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  17. ^ a b "Awards". Drkalaignar.org. Archived from the original on 7 January 2009. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  18. ^ "TMMK to confer Karunanidhi with 'Friend of the Community' title". newkerala.com. United News of India. 3 June 2007. Chennai, 3 June: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK President M Karunanidhi, who turned 84 today, will be conferred with the 'Friend of the Muslim Community' title by the Tamil Nadu Muslim Makkal Katchi. 
  19. ^ "MK awarded 'Friend of the Community' title". Retrieved 2018-02-20. 
  20. ^ United News of India (4 June 2007). "Karunanidhi turns 84". news.webindia123.com. The Tamil Nadu Muslim Makkal Katchi has decided to confer 'Yaaraan-E-Millath (meaning friend of the Muslim community) title on Mr Karunanidhi to mark the occasion. 
  21. ^ "The Hindu : What the Sarkaria Commission said". The Hindu. 10 June 2001. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  22. ^ "Welcome to Frontline". 29 (01). Frontline. 
  23. ^ "Karunanidhi held in pre-dawn swoop – Jailed on corruption charges". Blonnet.com. 31 December 2011. Archived from the original on 1 June 2006. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  24. ^ "Karuna earns BJP's wrath for comments on Lord Ram". Rediff. 17 September 2007. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  25. ^ "India Today Cover Story Jain Commission Revelations: Damning the DMK]". India Today. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  26. ^ "No adverse comments on DMK leaders in Jain report". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 14 February 2004. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  27. ^ "Karunanidhi flip flops, says can't forgive LTTE". CNN-IBN. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  28. ^ TamilNet (21 April 2012). "Karunanidhi: "Tamil Eelam Still Around the Corner"". Tamilnet.tv. Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  29. ^ S, Rajanayagam. Popular Cinema and Politics in South India: The Films of MGR and Rajinikanth. Routledge, 2015. ISBN 978-1-317-58772-9. 
  30. ^ S, Rajanayagam. Popular Cinema and Politics in South India: The Films of MGR and Rajinikanth. Routledge, 2015. ISBN 1317587723. 
  31. ^ "Politics: Special Series; M K Stalin". India Today. 1 November 1999. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  32. ^ "Enough proof to nail Karuna's wife, Kanimozhi in 2G scam: ED tells JPC". Times of India. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  33. ^ a b "Party wise comparison since 1977 in Anna Nagar constituency". Election Commission of India. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  34. ^ a b "Party wise comparison since 1977 in Harbour constituency". Election Commission of India. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  35. ^ a b c "Party wise comparison since 1977 in Chepauk constituency". Election Commission of India. Retrieved 10 November 2013. 
  36. ^ Statistical report on Tamil Nadu Assembly elections 2011, p. 191
  37. ^ Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Quadrennial Review 1962-70 1967, pp. 6-7
  38. ^ Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Quadrennial Review 1967-70 1971, p. 7
  39. ^ a b c d e f g h "Details of Successive legislative assemblies constituted under the constitution of India". Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  40. ^ Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Quadrennial Review 1967-70 1971, p. 145
  41. ^ Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Quadrennial Review 1971-76 1976, p. 157
  42. ^ Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Quadrennial Review 1977-80 1980, p. 9
  43. ^ Statistical report on Tamil Nadu Assembly general elections 1980, p. 10
  44. ^ Statistical report on Tamil Nadu Assembly general elections 1989, p. 10
  45. ^ Statistical report on Tamil Nadu Assembly general elections 1991, p. 10
  46. ^ Statistical report on Tamil Nadu Assembly general elections 1996, p. 11
  47. ^ Statistical report on Tamil Nadu Assembly general elections 2006, p. 11


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
C. N. Annadurai
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
First Tenure

Title next held by
M. G. Ramachandran
Title last held by
Janaki Ramachandran
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Second Tenure

Title next held by
J. Jayalalithaa
Preceded by
J. Jayalalithaa
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Third Tenure

Succeeded by
J. Jayalalithaa
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Fourth Tenure