General Knowledge : Biography of M. Karunanidhi

Biography of M. Karunanidhi

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Indian Chief Minster M. Karunanidhi Biography

Muthuvel Karunanidhi (born June 3, 1924)  is an Indian politician and the current Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. He is the head of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam ( DMK ), 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 and has served as chief minister five times (1969–71, 1971–76, 1989–91, 1996–2001 and 2006–2011 ). He holds the record of winning his seat in every election in which he has participated in his political career spanning more than 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.

M. Karunanidhi  is also a playwright and screenwriter in Tamil cinema. He is called by his supporters as Kalaignar .

M. Karunanidhi Early Life

M. Karunanidhi was born as Dakshinamurthy in Thirukuvalai in Nagapattinam, British India, on 3 June 1924 to Muthuvel and Anjugam. He belongs to the Isai Vellalar community.

M. Karunanidhi Screenwriting
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Karunanidhi began his career as a screenwriter in the Tamil film industry. 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.

M. Karunanidhi  first began using Tamil cinema to propagate his political ideas through the movie Parasakthi. 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. The movie was initially banned but was eventually released in 1952.

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.

Two other movies written by Karunanidhi that contained such messages were Panam and Thangarathnam. These movies contained themes such as 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; two of his plays in the 1950s were banned.

M. Karunanidhi Politics

Entry into politics

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 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

M. Karunanidhi with his party’s founder C. N. Annadurai and member K. A. Mathiazhagan.

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.

M. Karunanidhi 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.

M. Karunanidhi 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.

Member of Legislative Assembly ( MLA )

YearElected/ReelectedPlace
1957ElectedKulithalai
1962ElectedThanjavur
1967ElectedSaidapet
1971ReelectedSaidapet
1977ElectedAnna Nagar
1980ReelectedAnna Nagar
1989ElectedHarbour
1991ReelectedHarbour
1996ElectedChepauk
2001ReelectedChepauk
2006ReelectedChepauk
2011ElectedThiruvarur

Posts in Legislature

From yearTo yearPost
19621967Deputy Leader of the Opposition
19671969Cabinet Minister for Public Works
19771980Leader of the Opposition
19801983Leader of the Opposition
1984OnwardsElected to Legislative Council

Chief Minister

From YearTo YearElection
19691971Tamil Nadu state assembly election, 1967
19711976Tamil Nadu state assembly election, 1971
19891991Tamil Nadu state assembly election, 1989
19962001Tamil Nadu state assembly election, 1996
20062011Tamil Nadu state assembly election, 2006

Literature

Karunanidhi is known for his contributions to Tamil literature. His contributions cover a wide range: poems, letters, screenplays, novels, biographies, historic novels, stageplays, dialogues, songs, etc. 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, Tamil Nadu.

At Kanniyakumari, Karunanidhi has constructed a 133-foot-high statue of Thiruvalluvar, which portrays his feelings about the scholar.

M. Karunanidhi Books

Books Karunanidhi has written include: Romapuri Pandian, Thenpandi Singam, Vellikizhamai, Nenjukku Needhi, Iniyavai Irubathu, Sanga Thamizh, Kuraloviam, Ponnar Sankar, and Thirukkural Urai. His books of prose and poetry number more than 100.

M. Karunanidhi Stageplays

Karunanidhi’s plays include: Manimagudam, Ore Ratham, Palaniappan, Thooku Medai, Kagithapoo, Naane Arivali, Vellikizhamai, Udhayasooriyan and Silappathikaram.

M. Karunanidhi Screenplays

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.

He wrote 75 screenplays includingm: Rajakumaari, Abimanyu, Manthiri Kumari, Marutha Naattu Ilavarasi, Manamagan, Devaki, Parasakthi, Panam, Thirumbipaar, Naam, Manohara, Ammaiappan, Malai Kallan, Rangoon Radha, Raja Rani, Puthaiyal, Pudhumai Pithan, Ellorum Innattu Mannar, Kuravanchi, Thayillapillai, Kanchi Thalaivan, Poompuhar, Poomalai, Mani Makudam, Marakka Mudiyuma?, Avan Pithana?, Pookkari, Needhikku Thandanai, Paalaivana Rojakkal, Pasa Paravaikal, Padadha Theneekkal, Niyaya Tharasu, Pasakiligal, Kannamma, Uliyin Osai, Pen Singam and Ilaignan.

Editor and Publisher

He started Murasoli on 10 August 1942. He was the founding editor and 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.

M. Karunanidhi  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 the 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 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.

M. Karunanidhi 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, at his own request.

Awards and Titles

•    He is sometimes affectionately referred to as Kalaignar and Muthamizh Kavignar.

•    Annamalai University awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1971.[

•    He was awarded "Raja Rajan Award" by Tamil University, Thanjavur for his book "Thenpandi Singam".

•    On 15 December 2006, His Excellency, the Governor of Tamil Nadu and the Chancellor of Madurai Kamaraj University, Thiru Surjit Singh Barnala conferred an honorary doctorate on the Chief Minister on the occasion of the 40th annual convocation.

•    In June 2007, the Tamil Nadu Muslim Makkal Katchi announced that it would confer the title 'Friend of the Muslim Community' ('Yaaran-E-Millath') upon M. Karunanidhi.

Controversies

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. In 2001 Karunanidhi, former chief secretary, K.A. Nambiar, and a host of others were arrested on charges of corruption in the construction of flyovers in Chennai.

He and his party members where also 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.
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Ram Setu remarks

In response to Sethusamudram controversy, Karunanidhi questioned the existence of the Hindu God Rama. He asked :

Some say there was a person over 17 lakh years ago. His name was Rama. Do not touch the bridge (Ramar Sethu) constructed by him. Who is this Rama? From which engineering college did he graduate? Is there any proof for this?

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."

Nationalist Congress Party spokesman D. P. Tripathi said, "Where is the need of asking for evidence on the existence of Ram when lots of people have unreserved faith in him?"

In response to these statements, Karunanidhi defiantly stated, "Anyway, neither Valmiki nor Ram is here now [to vouch for claims of Ram's existence]. There is only a group that thinks of people as fools. They will be proved wrong.”

Several days later, he commented :

I have not said anything more than Valmiki, who authored Ramayana. Valmiki had even stated that Rama was a drunkard. Have I said so?
Connections with LTTE.

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).

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”.

Allegations of nepotism

Karunanidhi has been accused by opponents, by some members of his party, and by other 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 long before Karunanidhi became the Chief Minister in 1969. He was arrested several times, including in 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-Millath), demonstrating that his political career was not built entirely on his relation to Karunanidhi.

Many political opponents and DMK party senior leaders have been critical of the rise of M. K. Stalin in the party. 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.

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.

Karunanidhi has been accused of helping Murasoli Maran’s son Kalanidhi Maran, who runs Sun Network, India’s second largest television network. According to Forbes, Kalanidhi is among India’s richest 20, with $2.9 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 and IT portfolio, not broadcasting ministry, which is responsible for TV networks. Dayanidhi Maran was withdrawn from the IT and Communications portfolio at Center (he was a Union Minister for IT and Communications) because Dinakaran (a newspaper run by the Maran brothers) had shown the result of a public poll which read Dayanidhi Maran as the successor to Karunanidhi.

This created a bloody violence in the Madurai branch of Dinakaran office (carried out by M. K. Azhagiri), causing the death of three employees. This was 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 three 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 extraconstitutional authority in Madurai.

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.

His daughter Kanimozhi has been nominated for a Rajya Sabha post.

M. Karunanidhi Personal Life

He is a non-vegetarian now turned vegetarian. He has claimed that the secret of his energy and success lies in the daily practice of yoga. He married three times; his wives are Padmavathy, Dayalu Ammal and Rajathiammal.

His sons are M. K. Muthu, M. K. Alagiri, M. K. Stalin, and M. K. Tamilarasu. His daughters are Selvi and Kanimozhi. Kanimozhi is a Rajya Sabha MP. Padmavathy, who died early, bore M. K. Muthu, his eldest son. Azhagiri, Stalin, Selvi and Tamilarasu were born to Dayaluammal, while Kanimozhi is the only daughter from his third wife, Rajathiammal.

Cabinet

Karunanidhi’s Cabinet (May 13, 2006–present)

  • M. Karunanidhi: Chief Minister, Minister of Public Works Department , Home, General Administration, Civil Services, Police, Minority Welfare, Prohibition and State Excise, Tamil Official Languages and Tamil Cultural.
  • K. Anbazhagan: Minister for Finance
  • Arcot N. Veeraswami: Minister for Electricity
  • M. K. Stalin: Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Rural Development and Local Administration
  • Ko. Si. Mani: Minister for Cooperation, Statistics and Ex-Servicemen
  • Veerapandi S. Arumugam: Minister for Agriculture
  • Durai Murugan: Minister for Law
  • Ponmudi: Minister for Higher Education
  • K. N. Nehru: Minister for Transport
  • M. R. K. Paneerselvam: Minister for Health
  • Pongalur N. Palanisamy: Minister for Rural Industries and Animal Husbandry
  • I. Periasami: Minister for Revenue and Housing
  • N. Suresh Rajan: Minister for Tourism and Registration
    Parithi Ilamvazhuthi: Minister for Information
  • E. V. Velu: Minister for Food
  • Suba Thangavelan: Minister for Slum Clearance and Accommodation
    K. K. S. S. R. Ramachandran: Minister for Backward Classes
  • T. M. Anbarasan: Minister for Labour
  • K. R. Periyakaruppan: Minister for Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments
  • Thangam Thennarasu: Minister for School Education
  • S. N. M. Ubayadullah: Minister for Commercial Taxes
  • T. P. M. Mohideen Khan: Minister for Environment
  • N. Selvaraj: Minister for Forests
  • Vellakoil Saminathan: Minister for Highways
  • Poongothai Aladi Aruna: Minister for Information technology and Communications
  • Geetha Jeevan: Minister for Social Welfare
  • Tamilarasi: Minister for Adi-Dravidar Welfare
  • K. P. P. Samy: Minister for Fisheries
  • U. Mathivanan: Minister for Dairy Development
  • K. Ramachandran: Minister for Khadi

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