|Nick Name:||Kalaignar, Doctor Kalaignar, The Great Communicator|
|Height:||165 cm (5' 5'')|
|Birth Day:||June 3, 1924|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
|165 cm (5' 5'')||65 kg||White (Semi-bald)||Black||N/A||N/A|
His first politically themed film, Parasakthi, established him as a person of great stature within both the Indian political arena and the Tamil film industry. He first entered the Tamil Nadu Assembly in the late 1950s.
Karunanidhi was born on 3 June 1924, in the village of Thirukkuvalai in Nagapattinam district, Madras Presidency, to Ayyadurai (Grand father) Muthuvel and Anjugam. He had two elder sisters, Periyanayaki and Shanmugasundari. There was some misconception that his birth name was Dakshinamurthy, later changed to Karunanidhi as influenced by Dravidian and rationalist movements, Karunanidhi himself stated that C.N. Annadurai asked him to keep his birthname "Karunanidhi", since it is already popular among the people. In his own writings Karunanidhi said that his family were of the Devadasi (renamed as Isai Vellalar) caste, a small community that traditionally played musical instruments at ceremonial occasions; however his political rival M. G. Ramachandran and some observers contested that and said that he was of Telugu ancestry.
As recalled in the first volume of his biography Nenjukku Needhi, during his childhood Karunanidhi was more interested in music, writing and activism than schoolwork. He also recollects experiencing and revolting against caste-based discrimination during this period. His initial schooling was in Thirukkuvalai and then in 1936 he shifted to a high school in Tiruvarur. As a teenager he was captivated by the political writings of Tamil leaders including Panagal Arasar, Periyar and Pattukottai Azhagirisamy (after whom Karunanidhi later named one of his sons). Karunanidhi joined the anti-Hindi protests sparked by the provincial government's legislation making Hindi-education mandatory in schools, and in 1938 organised a group of boys to hold demonstrations travelling around Tiruvarur on a cycle rickshaw. The law was rescinded in 1939. The taste for activism however stuck and in the ensuing years, after a brief flirtation with Communism, Karunanidhi started following the work and speeches of leaders of Justice Party, Self-Respect Movement and Dravidar Kazhagam. He ignored schooling and dropped-out after failing three-times in the final year.
Karunanidhi married three times. His first marriage was to Padmavathi in September 1944, and they had a son M. K. Muthu, who was briefly active in Tamil films and politics. Padmavathi died in 1948 soon after childbirth. In September of that year, Karunanidhi's marriage was arranged with Dayalu Ammal, with whom he had three sons, M. K. Alagiri, M. K. Stalin and M. K. Tamilarasu, and a daughter, M. K. Selvi. Alagiri and Stalin are active in state politics and competed to be their father's political successors, before Stalin prevailed. Tamilarasu is a businessman and film-producer and campaigner for his father and his party; Selvi campaigned for Karunanidhi elections too. With his third wife, Rajathi Ammal, Karunanidhi had a daughter, Kanimozhi, who is seen as his literary heir.
Around late 1949, T. R. Sundaram of Modern Theatres Studio in Salem engaged Karunanidhi as scriptwriter for the film Manthiri Kumari starring M. G. Ramachandran which would become be a blockbuster hit. Later T. R. Sundaram had Karunanidhi on permanent rolls at Modern Studio.
His most notable movie was Parasakthi, 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 marred with controversies and faced censorship troubles, but was eventually released in 1952. becoming a huge box office hit. The movie was opposed by orthodox Hindus since it contained elements that criticised Hinduism.
At the age of 33, Karunanidhi entered the Tamil Nadu assembly by winning the Kulithalai seat in the 1957 election. 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 died in 1969, Karunanidhi became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and the first leader of DMK, since the leader post was customarily left vacant for Periyar during Annadurai time as Annadurai was party general secretary only. He has held various positions in the party and government during his long career in Tamil Nadu political arena.
He delivered the special address on the inaugural day of 3rd World Tamil Conference held in Paris in 1970, and also on the inaugural day of 6th World Tamil Conference held in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) in 1987. He 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.
His one time friend M. G. Ramachandran, who floated his AIADMK party after being sacked by Karunanidhi from DMK a few years earlier, would come to power in Tamil Nadu. The DMK then suffered multiple electoral defeats against his primary opponent M.G.Ramachandran's AIADMK, until the latter's death in 1987.
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 and then in 2009 was made the Deputy Chief Minister. Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi is a Lok Sabha MP now.
Karunanidhi contested and won in all Tamil Nadu Assembly general elections (then Madras) since 1957 except 1984 when he didn't contest the election. He resigned immediately after being elected in 1991, due to the routing of his party (only 2 seats out of 234).
Karunanidhi had a brief stint as Chief Minister in the late 1980s, during which his government was dismissed by the Central government on accusations of degrading the law and order situation in the state . He later again became the CM of Tamil Nadu in 1996 following a sweeping electoral win in the preceding elections. Following a five-year rule, his party again lost at the elections to J. Jayalalithaa's AIADMK in 2001.
In the 1970s, Karunanidhi was indicted by the Sarkaria Commission for corruption, for allegedly promoting a construction firm for a Veeranam development project, so that he could collect bribes after the fact. Indira Gandhi dismissed the Karunanidhi government based on charges of possible secession and corruption. In 2001, he was arrested on the charges of supposed corruption in the construction of flyovers in Chennai. He and his party members were also charged under four Sections like IPC 120(b), IPC 167, IPC 420 and IPC 409.
He was however back in power when he 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. At the end of the 5-year administration, the DMK lost the majority of seats in the legislative assembly of Tamil Nadu when elections were held in 2011, thereby ceding power again to the AIADMK under J. Jayalalithaa. During the 2016 closely fought elections DMK narrowly lost seats against J. Jayalalithaa's AIADMK.
As of 2006, he represented the constituency of Tiruvarur in the Tamil Nadu state Legislative Assembly. He was elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly 13 times (from 1957 to 2016 elections) and once to the now abolished Tamil Nadu Legislative Council.
'Ulaga Tamizh Manadu' [ World Tamil Conference ], was the first coined word for the conference in 2010, however the IATR organisation that had right to conduct the conference was not happy hence change in name.
Karunanidhi was in poor health from October 2016 and minimised his political activities and public appearances, with the last one being on his 94th birthday on 3 June 2018.
On 28 July 2018, Karunanidhi's health deteriorated and became "extremely critical and unstable", and he was admitted at Kauvery Hospital in Chennai for treatment. He died there at 6:10 p.m. on 7 August 2018 due to age-related illness, which led to multiple organ failure.
The government of Tamil Nadu declared a public holiday on 8 August 2018 and a seven-day mourning after Karunanidhi's death.
A national mourning on 8 August 2018 was announced by the government of India. The national flag flew half-mast in Delhi, all state capitals and across Tamil Nadu on 8 August 2018.
Currently, Karunanidhi is 98 years, 3 months and 23 days old. Karunanidhi will celebrate 99th birthday on a Saturday 3rd of June 2023.
Find out about Karunanidhi birthday activities in timeline view here.