Muthuvel Karunanidhi ,popularly known as Kalaignar was born on 3rd June 1924 at Thirukkuvalai ,in Tanjore District. His original name was Dakshinamurthy. Karunanidhi came from a humble and poor family. It was indeed a long journey that took him to the top of Tamil Nadu politics. Karunanidhi entered politics at the age of 14 after being inspired by a speech made by Alagiriswamy of Justice Party in 1932.
Beginning with public protest against the use of Hindi language in the region, he formed organisations for local youths and students and started a newspaper that eventually became the Murasoli the DMK’s official newspaper.
He became a close associate of DMK’s founder C.N.Annadurai and first received broader notice in Tamil Nadu politics when he led a 1953 protest in a town where it’s Tamil name had been replaced with one honouring an Industrialist from North India, with a Hindi name.
At the age of 33,Karunanidhi first entered the Tamil Nadu Assembly winning Kulithalai seat in 1957 election running as an independent candidate.
Beginning in 1962 Assembly polls he was continuously re elected to that party. He became the party’s treasurer in 1961 and Deputy leader of opposition when the Party entered the state assembly the following year. After the DMK’s win in 1967 the party formed the government and Annadurai became the Chief Minister, Karunanidhi was made as the Minister of Public works . Annadurai died in early 1969 and Karunanidhi succeded him as the head of the DMK and as the Chief Minister.
His first tenure lasted only until January 1971, yet another Assembly win later that year returned him as the Chief Minister.
In 1972, however a new party All India Dravidian Munnetra Kalagam AIADMK split from the DMK, thereafter the two parties became bitter rivals and traded terms heading the state government.
Both the DMK and the AIADMK used those tenures in par to settle scores with each other. In 1996, Karunanifhi led DMK govern filed several charges of corruption again Jayalalithaa Jayaram, leader of AIADMK who then spent a short time in jail, who then On June 30th 2001 after the AIADMK had returned to power following the assembly elections that year Karunanidhi was arrested and briefly detained on corruption charges related to highway construction projects. The arrest and the manner of arrest led to wide criticism and agitation around the Nation specially in Tamil Nadu.
After the arrest Karunanidhi again managed to gather the support of the people and demand of his immediate release prevailed which consequently led to the dismissal of the Jayalalithaa government. The case was later dismissed.
Later in 2006 at the age of 82 Karunanidhi became Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for the 5th time. After the DMK and Congress alliance has secured a majority of seats in assembly elections. The party has won on the promise that it would provide cheap rice to the citizenry and a free television for every household in the state. By 2011 however such incentives were not enough to overcome the allegations of corruption and party lost the elections .
Although Karunanidhi easily retained his seat only 22 other DMK candidates could win the polling, he was in poor health by then but remained as DMK’s supreme leader and continued to command immense popularity in TN politics.
Karunanidhi was the first Dravidian politician to realise the potential of the films ,disseminating the political ideologies henceforth his politicial career intertwined with screenwriting in Tamil film industry. There he holds skills in promoting the Dravidian movement that later contributed to his rise as a popular politician.
He wrote his first flim Rajkumari in 1947 aged 20,but his propaganda efforts started with Parasakthi in 1952-this was a turning point in Tamil Cinema, the flim was initially banned when it was finally released in 1952 it emerged as a huge box office hit.
Like that of his political mentor Annadurai, Karunanidhi movies carried elements of Dravidian politics ideology such as Anti Brahmanism and Anti Congress party messages. The overall themes of the movies was remarriage of widows, untouchability, self respect marriages, abolition of zamindari and abolition of religious hippocracy. In a span extending from 1947 to 2016 he wrote several films with strong social message.
He also penned the official theme song for the World Tamil Conference held in 2010
The DMK chief contested 12 Assembly Elections and won all his political career spanning over 60 years. He led the UPA in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to win all 40 Lok Sabha seats in 2004 Lok Sabha elections.
He saw many generation of politicians sparkled and fade. He was also considered as one of the greatest intellectuals of his era. He also has the distinction to serve as a party chief for 50 years.
According to experts one of the reasons why DMK still remains rooted in Dravidian ideologies was Karunanidhi who has worked in close association with Periyar and Annadurai.