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Mainstream, VOL LVI No 34 New Delhi August 11, 2018

Tamil Titan of National Eminence Departs

Monday 13 August 2018, by SC



Politics in Tamil Nadu has taken a new turn with the passing of 94-year-old Muthuvel Karunanidhi in Chennai last evening. And today with countless persons lining the road from the Rajaji Hall, where his body was kept for public viewing and enabling leaders of all parties to offer floral tributes to him, to the Marina Beach, where he was eventually buried at a spot near the memorial to his mentor C.N. Annadurai, it was more than transparent that apart from being an outstanding Tamil leader—perhaps unparalleled at a time when his two rivals, a one-time friend-turned-foe M.G. Ramachandran and his successor J. Jayalalithaa, have passed into history before him—he was a national figure as well. That is precisely why he was laid to rest with full national honours in Chennai. For one who had joined politics by actively participating in the anti-Hindi movement this was a real feather in his cap.

His stamp on Tamil Nadu politics was indeed unique. A five-time CM for 19 years and a legislator for more than six decades (he never lost an election) he was more than just a politician. As The Indian Express underscored, he left his mark on “almost every aspect of Tamil public life—politics, public administration, cinema, literature”. He was a powerful writer and most articulate orator.

An avowed atheist, he also upheld the Dravidian movement’s anti-caste agenda (a legacy of Periyar E.V. Ramasamy) and federalism while privileging Tamil identity. And The Times of India pithily underlined:

It is striking that the master of alliances has vacated the stage when rehearsals are on for mahagath-bandhans ahead of the 2019 general elections.

It further pointed out:

 From the forefront of anti-Hindi agitations of the 1940s till 1960s, Karunanidhi easily moved to the inner circle of national alliances like United Front in 1996, NDA in 1999 and UPA in 2004. In the process, he ensured more than a fair share of power at the Centre.

That truly brought out the talents and capabilities of the Thalaivar who will remain a towering figure in Tamil Nadu for long. From the PM to the Congress President, the whole nation was in Chennai today to pay homage to the memorable colossus who has left an indelible imprint in both his own State and the country at large.

While the nation‘s attention was focussed on Tamil Nadu the whole day today, information has come from Bihar that the Social Welfare Minister Manju Verma has finally tendered her resignation from the State Government led by CM Nitish Kumar due to the reported cases of rape at a women’s home in the State. What is more, the kingpin of this racket has also been arrested. However, in a similar case in UP no action has yet been taken against the accused by the State Government run by the ruling party at the Centre.

August 8 S.C.

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