Death of an icon

Muthuvel Karunanidhi, the former Chief Minister was the last of Tamil Nadu’s politicians with a colossal mass following, like MG Ramachandran and Jayaram Jayalalithaa. For decades, the state’s politics was dominated by the rivalry between its two towering figures – Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi. His death along with that of his fierce rival late Jayalalithaa last year will have deep impact on the Tamil Nadu politics. They both had in common great charisma, oratorical skills, and a history in films. He was an ardent follower of Dravidian ideologue CN Annadurai. When Annadurai founded the DMK in 1949, Karunanidhi joined the party that was born out of the Dravidian movement – a social churn that saw the consolidation of lower castes.
But his radical views did not always work in his favour. His sympathies for the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) militants in neighbouring Sri Lanka cost him his position as chief minister when then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by the group. But despite this setback, Karunanidhi continued to be a master in political sophistry, often playing a critical role in federal politics as well. His work especially for the upliftment of lower caste will forever be remembered by the people of Tamil Nadu. Karunanidhi who rose as regional leader went onto play an important role in national politics. He played critical role in making Tamil politics relevant even in national scenario. With his death India has lost a leader who championed the cause of poor and downtrodden. The social and secular values espoused by Karunanidhi will for years continue to inspire generation of Indians.