DMK president and five-time chief minister of Tamil Nadu, Mathuvel Karunanidhi was a popular name in the country. He was a 94-year-old statesman who had been a fixture of Tamil Nadu politics for decades. He is originally called Dakshinamurthy as he had Telugu ancestry.
Muthuvel Karunanidhi was an Indian writer and politician who served as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for five terms and twenty years between 1969 and 2011.
Karunanidhi was inspired at the age of 14 by the speaker Azhagirisami and started participating in social movements.
He was born on 3 June 1924 and he breathed his last on 7 August 2018 at Kauvery Hospital in Chennai after prolonged, age-related illness.
He was a long-standing leader of the Dravidian self-respect movement and ten-time president of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam political party.
Before entering politics he worked in the Tamil film industry as a scriptwriter. He has also made contributions to Tamil literature, having written stories, plays, novels, and a multiple-volume memoir. He was popularly referred to as Kalaignar in Tamil Nadu by his supporters. He has even written a multiple-volume memoir titled 'Nenjukku Neethi'.
He holds the record of winning his seat in every election in which he ever participated. In 1957, he was first elected in Tamil Nadu legislative assembly from Kulithalai seat of Tiruchirappalli district. When DMK came in power in 1967, he was the Minister for Public Works. After C.N. Annadurai in 1969, Karunanidhi stepped up to become the CM of Tamil Nadu. During his time he stood against multiple strong opponents like M.G. Ramachandran and J. Jayalalithaa.
He married three times and has four sons and two daughters.
Parasakthi the movie in which Sivaji Ganesan made his debut was written by Karunanidhi. The film was noted for its dialogues and it features the famous 'Odinen Odinen' dialogue. It was a film that acquired cult status in Tamil Cinema.
His focus on social evils, be it untouchability, widow remarriage, the abolishing of the zamindari system, and religious hypocrisy, positioned Karunanidhi as a social reformer.
Moreover, his courage to take an anti-position, be it to Hindi (in the language agitation of the 1960s), or to Indira Gandhi's Emergency a decade later, established Karunanidhi as a leader who could not be ignored.
Karunanidhi holds the record of not losing a single election since then.
In 2006, when he assumed office as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, he became the oldest serving Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.