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Constituency Chepauk

Born June 3, 1924 (1924-06-03) (age 85)
Thirukkuvalai, Tamil Nadu
Political party DMK
Spouse(s) Padmavathi Ammal (deceased)
Dayalu Ammal
Rajathi Ammal
Children M. K. Muthu
M. K. Azhagiri
M. K. Stalin
M. K. Tamilarasu
M. K. Selvi
M. K. Kanimozhi
Residence Chennai, India
Religion Atheist
In this Indian name, the name "Muthuvel" is a patronymic, not a family name, and the person should be referred to by the given name, "Karunanidhi".

M. Karunanidhi, (also known as "Kalaignar" Karunanidhi) (Tamil: மு. கருணாநிதி)(born June 3, 1924), is an Indian politician and the current Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. He is the head of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam,[1] a Dravidian political party in the state of Tamil Nadu. He has been the leader of the DMK since the death of its founder C.N. Annadurai in 1969.[2] He has been the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu five times (1969-71, 1971-76, 1989-91, 1996-2001 and 2006-present). He holds the record of winning his seat in every election that he has contested in his political career spanning over 60 years.[3] In the 2004 Lok Sabha Elections, he led the DMK-led DPA (UPA and Left Parties) in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to win all 40 Lok Sabha seats. In the following 2009 Lok Sabha Elections, he was able to increase the number of seats for the DMK from 16 to 18 seats, and led the UPA in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, to win 28 seats, even with a significantly smaller coalition. He is also a play and movie script writer in Tamil.


Early life

Karunanidhi was born as Dakshinamurthy[4] in Thirukuvalai in Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu[5] on 3 June 1924[6] to Muthuvel and Anjugam.[7]

Script writer

Karunanidhi began his career as a scriptwriter in the Tamil film industry.[6] Through his wit and oratorical skills he rapidly rise as a popular politician.[6] He was famous for writing historical and social (reformist) stories which propagated the socialist and rationalist ideals of the Dravidian movement to which he belonged. He started using Tamil cinema for propagating his political ideas first through the movie Parasakthi.[8] Parasakthi was a turning point in Tamil cinema as it espoused ideologies of the Dravidian movement and also introduced two prominent actors of Tamil filmdom, Sivaji Ganesan and S. S. Rajendran.[9] The movie was initially banned but was finally released in 1952.[9] It was a huge box office hit, but yet it was marred with controversies. The movie was opposed by orthodox Hindus since it contained elements that criticized Brahmanism. [10] Two of his other movies which contained such messages were Panam and Thangarathnam[8] These movies contained themes on widow remarriage, abolition of untouchability, self-respect marriages, abolition of zamindari and abolition of religious hypocrisy.[9] As his movies and plays with strong social messages became popular they suffered from increased censorship and two of his plays in 1950s were banned .[9]



Entry into politics

Karunanidhi entered politics at the age of 14 inspired listening to a speech by Alagiriswamii of the Justice Party by whom he was greatly influenced in 1932 and participated in Anti-Hindi agitations. He founded an organisation for the local youth of his locality. He circulated a hand written newspaper called Manavar Nesan to its members. Later he founded a student organisation called Tamil Nadu Tamil Manavar Manram which was the first student wing of the Dravidan Movement. Karunanidhi involved himself and the student community in social work with other members he would visit the nearby hutments to do all that was possible within his limit. Here he started a newspaper for its members which grew into Murasoli newspaper which is the DMK party's official newspaper.

The first major protest that aided Karunanidhi in gaining ground in Tamil politics was his involvement in an anti-Hindi protest in Kallakudi. This industrial town was then called as Dalmiapuram after a cement mogul from North India. In the protest Karunanidhi and his companions erased the Hindi name from the railway station and lay down on the tracks blocking the course of trains. Two people died in the protest and Karunanidhi was arrested.[11]

Rise to Power

Karunanidhi was first elected to the Tamil Nadu assembly in 1957 from the Kulithalai assembly of Thiruchirapalli district. 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 expired in 1969, Karunanidhi became the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu. He has held various positions in the party and government during his long career in Tamil Nadu political arena.

He took over a chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on 13 May 2006 after his coalition defeated his main opponent J. Jayalalithaa in the May 2006 elections.[12] He currently represents the constituency of Chepauk in Central Chennai in the Tamil Nadu state Legislative Assembly. He has been elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly 11 times and once to the now abolished Tamil Nadu Legislative Council.[13]

Member of Legislative Assembly

Year Elected/Reelected Place
1957 Elected Kulithalai
1962 Elected Thanjavur
1967 Elected Saidapet
1971 Reelected Saidapet
1977 Elected Anna Nagar
1980 Reelected Anna Nagar
1989 Elected Harbour
1991 Reelected Harbour
1996 Elected Chepauk
2001 Reelected Chepauk
2006 Reelected Chepauk

Posts in Legislature

From Year To Year Post
1962 1967 Deputy Leader of the Opposition
1967 1969 Cabinet Minister for Public Works
1977 1980 Leader of the Opposition
1980 1983 Leader of the Opposition
1984 Onwards Elected to Legislative Council

Chief Minister

From Year To Year Election
1969 1971 Tamil Nadu state assembly election, 1967
1971 1976 Tamil Nadu state assembly election, 1971
1989 1991 Tamil Nadu state assembly election, 1989
1996 2001 Tamil Nadu state assembly election, 1996
2006 Present Tamil Nadu state assembly election, 2006


Karunanidhi is known for his knowledge in and contribution for Tamil literature. His contributions cover a wide area like poem, letters, screenplays, novels, biographies, historic novels, stageplays, dialogues, songs etc. He has crafted Kuraloviam for Thirukural, Tholkaappiya Poonga, Poombukar as well as many poems, essays and books.

Apart from literature, Karunanidhi has also contributed to the Tamil language through art and architecture. Like the Kuraloviyam which Kalaignar wrote about Thirukkural, he through the construction of Valluvar Kottam gave an architectural presence to Thiruvalluvar, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. At Kanniyakumari, Karunanidhi has constructed a 133 feet high statue of Thiruvalluvar which portrays his feelings to the great immortal scholar.


Romapuri Pandian
Thenpandi Singam
Nenjukku Needhi
Iniyavai Irubathu
Sanga Thamizh
Ponnar Sankar
Thirukkural Urai

and many books in prose and poetry numbering more than 100.


Ore Ratham
Thooku Medai
Naane Arivali



At the age of 20, Karunanidhi went to work for Jupiter Pictures as a script writer. His first film Rajakumaari, gained him much popularity. It was here that his skills as a script writer were honed. He wrote more than 70 screenplays including:

Rajakumaari Abimanyu
Manthiri Kumari Marutha Naattu Ilavarasi
Manamagan Devaki
Parasakthi Panam
Thirumbipaar Naam
Manohara Ammaiappan
Malai Kallan Rangoon Radha
Raja Rani Puthaiyal
Pudhumai Pithan Ellorum Innattu Mannar
Kuravanchi Thayillapillai
Kanchi Thalaivan Poompuhar
Poomalai Mani Makudam
Marakka Mudiyuma? Avan Pithana?
Pookkari Needhikku Thandanai
Paalaivana Rojakkal Pasa Paravaikal
Padadha Theneekkal Niyaya Tharasu
Pasakiligal Kannamma
Uliyin Osai
Mulai paal

Editor and Publisher

He started Murasoli on 10.8.1942. He was the Founder-Editor, Publisher of " Murasoli" during his boyhood as a monthly, then a weekly, and now a daily. He used his talents as a journalist and cartoonist to bring issues relevant to his political ideology before the public. He writes daily letters addressed to his party workers by name; he has been writing these for over 50 years. In addition he has served as Editor for "Kudiyarasu" and gave life to journal - ' Mutharam'. He is the founder of State Governments News Reel, Arasu Studio and also the Government Journal "Tamil Arasu " published in Tamil and English.

World Tamil Conference

He has delivered the Special address on the inaugural day of 3rd World Tamil Conference held in Paris in the year 1970 and also on the inaugural day of 6th World Tamil Conference held in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) in the year 1987

Awards and Titles

  • He is affectionately referred as Kalaignar, Muthamizh Kavignar.
  • Annamalai University awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1971.
  • He was awarded "Raja Rajan Award" by Tamil University, Thanjavur for his book "Thenpandi Singam".
  • On 15 December 2006, His Excellency, the Governor of Tamil Nadu and the Chancellor of Madurai Kamaraj University, Thiru Surjit Singh Barnala conferred an honorary doctorate on the Chief Minister on the occasion of the 40th annual convocation[14]
  • In June 2007,[15][16][17] the Tamil Nadu Muslim Makkal Katchi announced that it will confer the title 'Friend of the Muslim Community' ('Yaaran-E-Millath') upon M. Karunanidhi.


He has been indicted by the Sarkaria commission for corruption in allotting tenders for the Veeranam project.[18] Indra Gandhi dismissed the Karunanidhi government based on charges of possible secession and corruption.[19] Karunanidhi, the former chief secretary, K.A. Nambiar, and a host of others were arrested in the wee hours of Saturday, on charges of corruption in the construction of flyovers in Chennai. This high handedness of the then incumbent government was deflected by the judicial wisdom and courage of the then principal sessions judge of Chennai, Justice S. Ashok Kumar. [20] He and his party members where charged under Sections 120(b) (criminal conspiracy), 167 (public servant framing an incorrect document with intent to cause injury), 420 (cheating) and 409 (criminal breach of trust) of the IPC, and Section 13 (2) read with 13 (1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, but no prima facie evidence was found against him and his son M K Stalin.[21]

Ram Setu remarks

In response to Sethusamudram controversy, Karunanidhi questioned the existence of the Hindu God Ram. He asked

Some say there was a person over 17 lakh 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?[22]

His remarks caused a firestorm of opinions. Tamil Nadu BJP head, Ravi Shankar Prasad accused Karunanidhi of religious discrimination when noting "We would like to know from Karunanidhi if he would make a similar statement against religious head of any other religion; chance are he may not."[23]

Nationalist Congress Party spokesman D. P. Tripathi said "Where is the need of asking for evidence on the existence of Ram when lots of people have unreserved faith in him?[24]"

In response to these statements, Karunanidhi defiantly stated "Anyway, neither Valmiki nor Ram is here now (to vouch for claims of Ram's existence). There is only a group that thinks of people as fools. They will be proved wrong.[24]"

Few days later, he commented that Lord Rama is a drunkard

I have not said anything more than Valmiki, who authored Ramayana. Valmiki had even stated that Rama was a drunkard. Have I said so? [25]

Connections with LTTE

The Interim report of Justice Jain Commission which oversaw the investigation into Rajiv Gandhi's assassination indicted Karunanidhi for abetting the LTTE. He supports LTTE currently.[26] The interim report, recommended that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and the DMK party be held responsible for abetting Rajiv Gandhi's murderers. The final report contained no such allegations [4].

In April 2009, Karunanidhi made a controversial remark that "...Prabhakaran is my good friend...". and also said "India could not forgive the LTTE for assassinating Rajiv Gandhi" [27]

Promoting Dynasty Rule

Karunanidhi has been accused by opponents, many of his party members and some political observers of trying to promote nepotism and start a political dynasty along the lines of the Nehru-Gandhi family. Vaiko who quit the DMK has been the most vocal. Political observers say that Vaiko was sidelined as he was seen as a threat to M.K. Stalin and other family members.

His nephew, the late Murasoli Maran was a Union Minister however it has been pointed out that he was in politics much before Karunanidhi became the Chief Minister in 1969.He was arrested several times including the Anti-Hindi agitations in 1965. He was asked to contest the by-election for South Madras in 1967 and the nomination papers were signed by Rajaji, Annadurai and Mohammed Ismail(Quaid-e-Milleth) clearly showing that his political career did not raise only due to Karunanidhi.[28]

Many political opponents and DMK Party senior leaders have been critical and perturbed about the rise of M.K. Stalin in the party. But some of the party men have pointed out that M.K. Stalin has come up on his own. He has faced a lot of hardship since 1975 when he was jailed under MISA was beaten up in jail so brutally during the Emergency that fellow DMK Party prisoner died trying to save him.[29]. Stalin was a MLA in 1989 and 1996 when his father Karunanidhi was the Chief Minister but he was not inducted into the Cabinet. He contested and became Chennai's 44 mayor but the first directly elected Mayor in 1996. It was only in his 4th term as MLA has he been made a Minister in the Karunanidhi cabinet and his rise is slow but steady.

Karunanidhi has been accused of helping Murasoli Maran's son Kalanidhi Maran who runs Sun Network, India's second largest television network and according to Forbes, Kalanidhi is among India's Richest 20 with $1.9 Billion.[5]. Again commentators say that he raised himself into the position on his own merit and even Karunanidhi's sons have achieved nothing compared to him which has been a cause of friction between them. His channels have been the mouth organ of the DMK party (until recent time) and balanced the Jaya TV of the AIADMK.

Another son of Maran's, Dayanidhi Maran is a Former Union Minister for Communications & IT portfolio, not broadcasting ministry, which is responsible for TV networks. It is a well known and often-argued fact that Dayanidhi Maran has been thrown out of his IT and Communications portfolio at Center (he was a Union Minister for IT and Communications) because the Dinakaran Newspaper (run by the Maran brothers) has shown M.K. Stalin of having the possibility to be the next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu which created a bloody violence in the Madurai branch of Dinakaran office (carried out by M.K. Azhagiri), causing the death of three employees. This is again seen as a result of the Dynasty-Controversy in Karunanidhi's family.

It has been pointed out that Karunanidhi has hesitated to take action against his erring family members, though he has expelled his other sons M.K. Muthu and M.K. Azhagiri when they were guilty of wrong doing[30] and similarly removed Dayanidhi Maran from the position of Union Minister (because of the reason stated in the previous paragraph).

Of late, he has been accused of not taking action against M.K. Azhagiri after his supporters attacked the newspaper office of Dinakaran killing 3 people (as stated above). M.K. Azhagiri is the prime accused in the murder case of the former DMK Minister Kiruttinan. Karunanidhi is also accused of allowing Azhagiri to function as an extra constitutional authority in Madurai through he has never held a party post and is a liability to the party and not yet expelled from the party [31] The Dinakaran newspaper case was handed over to the CBI. But, the District and Sessions court acquitted all the 17 accused in that case.[32] So far, the case has not been appealed in a higher court to identify and punish the perpetrators of the crime.

Further, his daughter Kanimozhi has been nominated for a Rajya Sabha post even though she has done very little for the party as pointed out by critics and many of his party members.

To make matters worse, now M.K. Stalin has been made the Deputy Chief Minister signalling clearly to party cadres and leaders that he will be the successor of Karunanidhi, not only in his family but also in his party, thus reducing the party that once stood for democratic functioning and socialistic principles into a family fief-dom. Now, the power is being shared only within the family and all the key posts passed only among the family members just like the old Zamindari / Dynastic rulers. However, it is apparently true that M.K. Stalin has been accepted as a flamboyant performer as an Administrator in his current position, by various members of even opposition parties including AIADMK.

Pampered by praises

Recently, Karunanidhi is being perceived as a person who desires to receive felicitations and awards for the regular duty he performs as the Chief minister of the State. The function organised by the Tamil Film Industry is a particular example which gives an impression of the Courtesans dancing and poets singing flattery in front of a King.

Personal life

He was a non vegetarian now turned vegetarian.[33] He has claimed that the secret of his energy and success lies in yoga and daily practice[34]. He has married three times his wives are Mrs. Padmavathy, Mrs. Dayalu Ammal and Mrs. Rajathiammal[35][36][37].

His sons are M.K Muthu, M.K. Azhagiri, M.K. Stalin, M.K Tamilarasu and daughters are Selvi and Kanimozhi. Kanimozhi is a Rajya Sabha MP.

Padmavathy, who died early bore him M.K. Muthu, his eldest son. Azhagiri, Stalin, Selvi and Tamilarasu are born to Dayaluammal, while Kanimozhi is the only daughter from his third wife Rajathiammal.[citation needed]

Photo Gallery


Karunanidhi's Cabinet ( May 13, 2006-)

See also

Preceded by
C. N. Annadurai
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
First Term (1969-1971)
Second Term (1971-1976)

Succeeded by
M. G. Ramachandran
Preceded by
Janaki Ramachandran
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Third Term

Succeeded by
J. Jayalalithaa
Preceded by
J. Jayalalithaa
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Fourth Term

Succeeded by
J. Jayalalithaa
Preceded by
J. Jayalalithaa
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Fifth Term

Succeeded by


  1. ^ DMK's Official Homepage-Chennai-Tamilnadu-India 800x600 screen resolution
  2. ^ "Biography in official party website". 
  3. ^ Karunanidhi wins for record 11th time -
  4. ^ With Them / Against Them: The DMK's bitter battles with the state BJP continue, so how long can they hang on at the Centre? Outlook India
  5. ^ Karunanidhi’s been nice, but his village not blind to Amma option The Indian Express.
  6. ^ a b c Gupta, Om (2006). Encyclopaedia of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Gyan Publishing House. ISBN 9788182053892. 
  7. ^ Karunanidhi's Kutumbam The Indian Express
  8. ^ a b Guneratne, Anthony R.; Wimal Dissanayake, Sumita S. Chakravarty (2003). Rethinking Third Cinema. Routledge. pp. 216. ISBN 0415213541. 
  9. ^ a b c d Hardgrave, Jr, Robert L (March 1973). "Politics and the Film in Tamilnadu: The Stars and the DMK". Asian Survey (JSTOR) 13 (3): 288–305. 
  10. ^ A. Srivathsan. "Films and the politics of convenience". Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  11. ^ Ramaswamy, Sumathy (1997). Passions of the tongue: language devotion in Tamil India, 1891-1970. University of California Press. pp. 226. ISBN 0520208056 ISBN 9780520208056. 
  12. ^ asdadadaadav fsafsdfs fasfsf: The Sachin of TN politics
  13. ^ Latest News, e-Bulletins, Stocks, Bollywood, Cricket, Video, Blogs, RSS from India
  14. ^
  15. ^ United News of India (3 June 2007). "TMMK to confer Karunanidhi with 'Friend of the Community' title". "Chennai, June 3: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK President M Karunanidhi, who turned 84 today, will be conferred with the 'Friend of the Muslim Community' title by the Tamil Nadu Muslim Makkal Katchi." 
  16. ^ United News of India (3 June 2007). "MK awarded 'Friend of the Community' title". 
  17. ^ United News of India (4 June 2007). "Karunanidhi turns 84". "The Tamil Nadu Muslim Makkal Katchi has decided to confer 'Yaaraan-E-Millath (meaning friend of the Muslim community) title on Mr Karunanidhi to mark the occasion." 
  18. ^ The Hindu : What the Sarkaria Commission said
  19. ^ Rama Sethu & Karunanidhi
  20. ^
  21. ^ Karunanidhi held in pre-dawn swoop -- Jailed on corruption charges
  22. ^ Which engineering college did Rama study, asks Karuna New Ind Press - September 18 2007
  23. ^ Karuna earns BJP's wrath for comments on Lord Ram Rediff - September 17, 2007
  24. ^ a b DMK chief rubbishes Ram again The Pioneer - September 20, 2007
  25. ^ As per Valmiki, Rama was a drunkard: Karunanidhi
  26. ^ India Today Cover Story [Jain Commission Revelations: Damning the DMK]
  27. ^ Karunanidhi flip flops, says can't forgive LTTE
  28. ^ Maran – the eyes and ears of DMK in Delhi
  29. ^ Politics: Special Series; M K Stalin
  30. ^ Tehelka - The People's Paper
  31. ^ The Hindu : Charge sheet filed against Azhagiri in Kiruttinan case
  32. ^ The Hindu : All acquitted in Dinakaran case
  33. ^ [1]
  34. ^ [2]
  35. ^ In South India, more the merrier - The Times of India 2 May, 2006
  36. ^ Rama, Ravana battle again in TN - Rediff
  37. ^ [3]
  38. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad "Council of Ministers". Government of Tamil Nadu. 

External links


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