M Karunanidhi, the people's leader was elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly for a record 12 times as an MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly). He also served as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for five times - a rare feat in Indian politics!
Widely popular and well known for his wit and oratory skills, Karunanidhi gradually grew to be a popular politician among the masses. He rose to fame as a scriptwriter and was well known for his works in the Tamil film industry. M. R. Radha gave him the title of Kalaignar, which means an 'artist'
Greatly inspired by speaker Azhagirisamy, who was considered the pillar of the justice party, Karunanidhi became an activist at the tender age of 14. He engaged himself in social movements and with the help of some students he formed 'youth revitalised the organisation', that aimed to help young people develop their inspiration and writing
A screenwriter, poet, novelist are few of the facets of his illustrious career. Karunanidhi founded the 'Murosoli' at the age of 14 which grew to become DMK's official newspaper. Karunanidhi's family also owns the Sun TV group, which is one of biggest media organisation in Tamil Nadu
In picture: Karunanidhi with his wife Dayalu Ammal
Did you know? Karunanidhi, the prolific screenwriter and great speaker failed his 10th standard! After failing his matriculation exams he moved to Coimbatore, where he made a living for himself by writing scripts for professional theatre groups
In picture: Karunanidhi at his daughter's wedding ceremony
Karunanidhi contributed immensely to Tamil literature through his poems, letters, screenplays, novels, biographies, historical novels, stage-plays, dialogues, movies and so on. What's more? Karunanidhi also constructed a 133-foot high statue of Thiruvalluvar, a Tamil poet and philosopher, at Kanyakumari
In 2006 after winning the elections and being re-elected as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for the fifth time, Karunanidhi became the oldest serving Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu at the age of 82
Karunanidhi's DMK government was indicted by the Central Government following Rajiv Gandhi's assassination at Sriperumbudur, near Chennai, in Tamil Nadu. The interim report of Justice Milap Chand Jain, looking into the conspiracy angle to the assassination held Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and his DMK responsible for abetting Rajiv Gandhi's murderers
In picture: Karunanidhi with Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray
Did you know? Karunanidhi the Kalaignar has never lost an election since 1957. From becoming an MLA from Kulithalai to becoming the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu five times, he has won every election that he has contested. Except in the 1980s when he was an MLC which is the upper house
If anyone could stand against the mighty powerful and the then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi it was the one and only Kalaignar! During the Emergency DMK was the only ruling party that opposed the move, that was imposed during Indira Gandhi's rule. For opposing the Emergency, Karunanidhi's government was summarily dismissed by Indira Gandhi's government and many of his party leaders were arrested
In picture: Karunanidhi with BJP veteran Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Karunanidhi was loved by the masses all across the globe. He even delivered a speech at the inaugural day of the 3rd World Tamil Conference held at Paris in 1970, and on the inaugural day of 6th World Tamil Conference held at Kuala Lumpur in 1987. Karunanidhi also penned the song "Semmozhiyaana Tamizh Mozhiyaam", the official theme song for the World Classical Tamil Conference 2010, that was set to be composed by the musical maestro A. R. Rahman
In picture: Karunanidhi with Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K Advani
A well-known scriptwriter and novelist, Karunanidhi wrote many books which include Thirukkal Urai, Thenpandi Singham, Sanga Thamizh, Iniyavi Irubathu, vallikizhami, Romapuri Pandian and Kuraloviam to name a few. Rightly so he was awarded the "Raja Rajan Award" by Tamil University, Thanjavur for his book Thenpandi Singham
In picture: Karunanidhi with family
M Karunanidhi got married thrice. His first wife was Padmavathy Ammal with whom he had a son M K Muthu, both died at a young age. After that, he got married to Dayalu Ammal. MK Azhagiri and MK Stalin are his sons from his second marriage. Azhagiri is a former Cabinet Minister while Stalin is serving as the working president of DMK party. Later, he married Rajathiammal and had a daughter Kanimozhi who is now Rajya Sabha MP
In picture: Karunanidhi with Bigg Gates and Dayanidhi Maran
Karunanidhi was the man responsible for the breakthrough films for both MGR and Shivaji Ganeshan. Parasakthi the movie in which Sivaji Ganesan made his debut was written by Karunanidhi and was a film that acquired cult status in Tamil Cinema. While on the other hand, history has it that Manthiri Kumari is the film which gave MGR his breakthrough in Tamil Cinema and was also written by the Kalaignar!
In picture: Karunanidhi with Dr. Manmohan Singh
Did you know? The 1997 film 'Iruvar' directed by Mani Ratnam featuring Mohan Lal, Prakash Raj, Aishwarya Rai and Tabu in the leaf was based on his relationship with actor and his friend MGR
In picture: Karunanidhi with M.S Dhoni
Ellis Roderick Dungan, an American film director was well known for working in Indian films, predominantly Tamil cinema, from 1936 to 1950. Manthiri Kumari was his last Tamil film and its screenplay was written by none other than the Kalaignar - M Karunanidhi himself!
In picture: Karunanidhi with Sonia Gandhi
Just like other politicians, Karunanidhi's life too was marred with alot of controversies. In 2007, his remarks in connection with Ramsetu bridge stormed a huge political controversy. He had allegedly said that, "Some say there was a person over 1.7 million 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?"
In picture: M Karunanidhi with APJ Abdul Kalam
Two years down the line he again became controversy's child for his remark that he did not view Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam chief Velupillai Prabhakaran as a terrorist
M Karunanidhi with Sonia Gandhi, Dayanidhi Maran and Mehbooba Mufti
M Karunanidhi with Narendra Modi
M Karunanidhi with Rahul Gandhi. This photo was clicked on June 4, 2017
A file picture of DMK chief M Karunanidhi with his son MK Stalin on his 63rd birthday in Chennai on March 1, 2015
In this file picture, DMK chief M Karunanidhi is seen with Tamil film icons Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth
Karunanidhi with B. S. Yeddyurappa, the three times Chief Minister of Karnataka and the BJP state president
To his supporters and followers, he was a 'Thalaiva', truly a people's leader. For his oppositions, he was a shrewd, intelligent, and master strategist. To the literature geek, he was the champion of Tamil art, literature and language. And to one and all across the globe he was 'Kalaignar' the artist!
M Karunanidhi, fondly called as 'Kalaignar' by his supporters passed away in Kauvery hospital, Chennai. A leader par excellence, Karunanidhi was also the President of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). Screenwriter, poet, novelist, and politician are a few of the facets of his life! As the nation mourns the death of the political stalwart we bring to you interesting facts about the 'Kalaignar' and his rich political legacy