Muthuvel Karunanidhi was the president of the popular party Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). Today, many people remembered Karunanidhi on his birth anniversary, and in fact, several users of the social media platform Twitter wished him, #HBDKalaignar98 trended in India.
During 1969 and 2011 Karunanidhi was chief minister of Tamil Nadu five times. Karunanidhi was born on June 3, 1924, in the village of Thirukkuvalai in Madras Presidency. Karunanidhi said that his family belonged to the Devadasi (renamed as Isai Vellalar) caste. As recalled in his biography Nenjukku Needhi, Karunanidhi was interested in music, writing, and activism in his childhood days. He also revolted against caste-based discrimination.
When Karunanidhi was 14 years old he was impressed by Alagiriswami of the Justice Party in 1932, his speech prompted him to join politics. He became a student activist in Periyar’s Self-Respect Movement fighting for the rights of the Dravidians. While India was struggling for freedom against the British regime, the Justice Party stood out against religious dogma and caste orthodoxies in south India. It opted for the civil disobedience movement demanding social actions.
In 1957 Karunanidhi was first elected to the Tamil Nadu Assembly from the Kulithalai constituency in Tiruchirappalli district. Karunanidhi devoted himself to the development of his state. He wrote that the compelling arguments of Periyar’s speeches, the bravery, and courage in Azhagiri’s sentences, Anna’s beautiful Tamil mesmerized him. He took pride in the Tamil language. Karunanidhi in his school handed the teacher a pamphlet and shouted in his face, ‘Defeat Hindi! Long live Tamil!
Karunanidhi showed his presence in Tamil politics. Following his mentor Annadurai, he integrated the Tamil state into the national mainstream. He empowered the backward categories and strengthened the role of language. Besides politics, he worked in the Tamil film industry. Apart from film scripts, he wrote short stories and novels.
He worked in implementing visible welfare measures. He formed a backward classes commission and brought a social reform by appointing non-brahmin a temple priest. He was regarded as an excellent administrator who showed efficient leadership skills.
Understanding the cultural significance in his state Karunanidhi put greater efforts to revive the festival in the Thiruvarur temple after years. Language has played a pivotal role in shaping the politics in Tamil Nadu.