Life and times of DMK chief M Karunanidhi

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief and five-time chief minister of Tamil Nadu Muthuvel Karunanidhi passed away on Tuesday in Kauvery Hospital, Chennai. He was 94.

Kalaignar Karunanidhi

Popularly known as Kalaignar (artist), M Karunanidhi born was born on June 3, 1924, to Muthuvelar and Anjugam Ammiyar in Thirukkuvalai village, around 300 kilometers away from Chennai.


The Dravidian icon: Karunanidhi

Beginning his political career as a 14-year-old activist in the anti-Hindi agitation of the late 1930s, Karunanidhi quickly became the voice of the surging Dravidian movement led by 'Periyar' EV Ramasami, CN Annadurai 'Anna', and others.

He began a student organisation called Tamil Nadu Tamil Manavar Mandram. This was the first student wing of the Dravidian Movement.

He started a newspaper, Murasoli for the student community which later became the mouthpiece of DMK.

A founder member of the DMK when the party was formed in 1949.

In 1953, His involvement in the Kallakudi agitation in Kallakudi made him gain ground in Tamil politics.


Karunanidhi and his wives

He was married thrice. His first wife was late Padmavathy, who died young. His second wife is Dayalu Ammal and third wife is Rajathi Ammal. He has four sons M K Muthu, M K Alagiri, M K Stalin, and M K Tamilarasu and two daughters Selvi and Kanimozhi. His eldest son from his first marriage died at a very young age.


Renowned screenwriter of Tamil film industry

The Dravidian icon started his career as a screenwriter in the Tamil film industry. Through the movie ‘Parasakthi’ his political ideas were propagated. He started working as a Scriptwriter for Jupiter Pictures. He wrote numerous screenplays including Rajakumaari, Devaki, Thirumbi Paar, Naam, Manohara, Malaikkallan,Rangoon Radha, Kuravanji, Kaanchi Thalaivan, Thayillapillai and Poompuhar, Poomalai. Apart from writing for films, Karunanidhi also wrote poems, letters, novels, biographies, historical novels, and movie songs.


Position held

In 1957, he was elected to the Tamil Nadu assembly from Kulithalai assembly.

In 1961, he became the DMK treasurer and a year later he became the opposition’s deputy leader in the state assembly.

In 1967, he became the PWD minister.

On February 10, 1969, he became Tamil Nadu's Chief Minister following the death of DMK founder C.N.Annadurai for the first time.

On July 27, 1969, he became the party President.

15 March 1971 - 31 January 1976: 2nd term as chief minister.

27 January 1989 - 30 January 1991: 3rd term as chief minister.

13 May 1996 - 13 May 2001: 4th term as chief minister.

13 May 2006 - 15 May 2011: 5th term as chief minister.

In July 2018, he entered 50th year as the party chief.



In 1971, he received an honourary doctorate from Annamalai University.He received “Raja Rajan Award” from Tamil University, Thanjavur for his book “Thenpandi Singam”.In December 2006, he received an honourary doctorate from Madurai Kamaraj University.In June 2007, he was conferred the title ‘Friend of the Muslim Community’ (‘Yaaran-E-Millath’).


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