M Karunanidhi Dead at 94; DMK Chief Breathes His Last at 6:10 PM After Prolonged Illness
DMK chief M Karunanidhi no more (Image Credits: Facebook/Kalaignar89)

Chennai, Aug 7: M Karunanidhi, DMK chief and leading political figure, died today in Tamil Nadu. He had been undergoing treatment at Kauvery Hospital due to the decline in his health because of urinary tract infection and its complications. The 94-year-old politician, who has seen it all, was one of the founding members of the Dravidian Progressive Federation in 1949. He was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu several times, the first being in 1969-71, then in 1971-76, 1989-91, 1996-2001 and finally in 2006-2011. Follow live updates here.

Born in a small village in today's eastern Tamil Nadu, he was part of a caste, which traditionally looked to music as their source of income. He dropped out of school early and started working as a screenwriter in the Tamil Nadu film industry at a very young age. It was as a screenwriter, while working in the film industry, that he learnt the tricks of trade of promoting the Dravidian movement in opposition to the Brahmin community, which contributed to his popularity as a politician.

Getting involved in politics as a teenager, Karunanidhi became involved in and started participating in public protests against the introduction and use of Hindi language in the region. He also started a newspaper to mobilise youth, and the same newspaper went on to become DMK's mouthpiece in the future, named Murasoli.

This is the period when he became close to the founder of the Dravida movement, C.N. Annadurai. Karunanidhi was first elected as an independent candidate to the legislative assembly of Madras State in 1957. The state of Tamil Nadu was known as Madras state then. Karunanidhi kept growing in the DMK and after the death of DMK Founder and Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Annadurai, Karunanidhi not only became the chief of DMK, but also the chief minister of the state.

In 1972, the DMK split and another party by the name of All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, (AIADMK) came into existence. Both the parties became rivals and the rivalry between DMK Chief Karunanidhi and J Jayalalithaa, who headed the AIADMK, turned into personal animosity. Karunanidhi was also later arrested on corruption charges but the case was rejected later. He again became the chief minister of Tamil Nadu in 2006, at the age of 82, before losing to AIADMK. Despite the downfall of his party, Karunanidhi remained a popular leader in Tamil Nadu.