Even two years after his demise, Muthuvel Karunanidhi continues to remain a household name in Tamil Nadu. His persona was undetachable from the state's polity. Not only was he the longest serving Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, but also a celebrated scholar and artist of the state. His creativity and intellectual prowess earned him the title of "Kalaignar". Om his 97th birth anniversary, here are the lesser known facts about M Karunanidhi.

  • Karunanidhi, as per his own writings, stated that his family belongs to the Devadasi caste. The community was later renamed as Isai Vellalar in official records. They were traditionally known for playing musical instrumentals on ceremonial occasions.
  • Despite Karunanidhi being known for iron-grip in several realm of studies, he had dropped out from formal education. The reason for him quitting the formal branch of studies was his commitment towards full-time activism.
  • Karunanidhi's political entry could be traced back to 1938, when he vehemently participated in the anti-Hindi agitation.
  • Before turning into a full-time politician, Karunanidhi made a name for himself as a screenplay writer. He started working in Jupiter Pictures, a Coimbatore-based film production company, at the age of 20.
  • Incidentally, Karunanidhi's first movie as a screenwriter was Rajakumari, whose lead cast included MG Ramachandran - who later went on to emerge as Kalaignar's arch nemesis by launching his own party - AIADMK.
  • Karunanidhi was elected to the Tamil Nadu assembly for the first time in 1957, on the DMK ticket.
  • The DMK veteran holds the record of being involved in electoral politics for nearly 70 years. He was elected as a legislator for a total of 13 times.
  • Karunanidhi's five-time stint as Chief Minister translated into a cumulative stay of 6,863 days at the helm of power.

Karunanidhi led the DMK for a period of nearly 50 years - from 1969 to his demise in 2018. He was continuously elected as president of the pro-Dravidian party for 10 times. He died at the age of 94 following age-related ailments. His son MK Stalin, who was apparently chosen as the political heir by Kalaignar, was elected as the next party chief.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 03, 2020 07:00 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).