What it means to be M Karunanidhi in Tamil Nadu politics, the man who called Lord Ram a drunkard and hurt the Hindu sentiments

The long political career of Kalaignar of Tamil Nadu has ended after 94 years

In South India, politics is very closely related with the silver screen. Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, both were governed by actors-turned politicians. This is one such story of a screenwriter and novelist of Tamil Nadu who went on to become the chief minister of Tamil Nadu for 5 terms.

Born on 1924, popularly known as Kalaignar (artist), Muthuvel Karunanidhi, the 5-term chief minister and ten-time president of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam political party was the pioneer in planting anti-Brahmin, anti-Hindu sentiments in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Karunanidhi had a stunning track record of attacking Ramayan and lord Ram. In 2007, he had once said that “Ram is as big a lie as Himalayas and Ganges”. When this statement was slammed by the Hindus he even denied to apologize. His arrogance was such that he questioned Ram’s existence by saying “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?”.

Indian actor Cho Ramaswamy had once slammed M Karunanidhi stating “He is more interested in getting the Ramar Bridge demolished than completing the Sethusamudram project”.Though the DMK supremo was an atheist, he never made controversial statements against other religions, accept Hinduism.

BJP stalwart LK Advani had slammed Karunanidhi saying “though Karunanidhi is an atheist, I appeal to him to withdraw his remarks. Atheists in America and other countries do not wound religious sentiments. Can such remarks be made against Jesus Christ in countries, where Christians are in majority or against Prophet Mohammed where Muslims are in majority”.

The political career of M Karunanidhi was surrounded by several controversies. From corruption to nepotism, Karunanidhi had a bitter relationships with his counterparts. Every molecule in Tamil Nadu knows that Karunanidhi is the backbone of the dynasty that runs in the state but most of the people are unaware of the fact that it was due to him that Jayalalitha got an opportunity to become the “Amma” (mother) of Tamil Nadu from the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), who went on become the chief minister of the state for 5 terms.

Like how the Vastrapaharanam of Draupadi led to the Mahabharata war, the indecent act of pulling the saree of Jayalalitha by the DMK MLAs, that too in the Tamil Nadu assembly gave rise to a woman who went on to demolish the mighty influence of Karunandhi’s family in the state.

The date was 25-3-1989 when Jayalalitha, who was the opposition leader, said Karunanidhi had no moral right to be the chief minister. This was enough to provoke the DMK MPs who created ruckus in the assembly by manhandling Jayalalitha. What was pathetic was even her saree was pulled. Her supporters were even hackled and were left in tears and messy hair.

This humiliation resulted in Jayalalitha taking an oath to enter the Tamil Nadu assembly only as a chief minister. In the 1991 elections, she openly called Karunanidhi a “Duryodhana” and avenged the insult by winning the assembly with a thumping victory. This was the turning point in the political arena of Tamil Nadu.

In 1949 C. N. Annadurai had formed the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) which is now the family run party of Karunanidhi and family. Karunanidhi had entered politics at an early age of 14 by participating in Anti-Hindi agitations won became MLA for the first time at the age of 33 years in 1957. In 1961 he became the DMK treasurer and deputy leader of opposition in the state assembly in the year 1962. he became the chief minister for the first time in 1969 after the DMK founder Annadurai expired.

The first time Karunanidhi had become the chief minister was on 10 February 1969 and it lasted on 4 January 1971. Even in the succeeding election he won and governed the state from 15 March 1971 to 31 January 1976. But for his 3rd term he had to wait for 13 years. Though only for 2 years, he became the chief minister from 27 January 1989 – 30 January 1991. After a 5 year break he again became the CM on13 May 1996 and it lasted on 13 May 2001. His final term was from 13 May 2006 to 15 May 2011.

The DMK supremo’s life was entangled by several controversies. The interim report of Justice Jain Commission had alleged that Karunanidhi had indicted Karunanidhi for abetting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). In 2009, Karunanidhi had gave out a statement saying “Prabhakaran is my good friend” which gave rise to several speculations.

Now that Karunanidhi is out of Tamil Nadu politics, physically, the game is open to all the political parties. It is interesting to see how DMK and AIADMK will formulate strategies here after.

Hansika Raj