Administration Who's Who



Muthuvel Karunanidhi is an Indian politician and the leader of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). He has served as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on five separate occasions. He was known as the leader of the party in 1969 after the death of its founder, C. N. Annadurai. In a time of more than 60 years in his political career, Karunanidhi is known for holding a record of winning his seat in every election he has participated. He is also known as Kalaignar. He is popular for his interest in playwright and screenwriting in Tamil cinema. He has launched six volumes of his autobiography, Nenjukku Neethi since 1975.

Early life and family

M.Karunanidhi was born as Dakshinamoorthy Muthuvel and Anjugam on 3 June 1924 in Thirukuvalai, Nagapattinam district. He married thrice. His first wife was late Padmavathy, who died at a young age. His second wife is Dayalu Ammal and the third wife is Rajathi Ammal. He was blessed with six children from his three marriages; however, his eldest son from his first marriage also died young.

Political career

Karunanidhi entered politics at the age of 14, inspired by a speech by Alagiriswamii of the Justice Party, and took part in Anti-Hindi agitations. He established an organization for the local youth of his locality. He circulated a handwritten newspaper called Manavar Nesan to its members. Later he founded a student organization called Tamil Nadu Tamil Manavar Mandram, which became the first student wing of the Dravidian Movement. Karunanidhi involved himself and the student community in social work with other members. Here he initiated a newspaper for its members, which grew into Murasoli, the DMK party’s official newspaper.

The first major protest that helped Karunanidhi in gaining ground in Tamil politics was his involvement in the Kallakudi agitation in Kallakudi. Original name of this industrial town was Kallakudi and it was changed to Dalmiapuram after a cement mogul who built a cement plant there. DMK wanted to change the name back to Kallakudi. In the protest, Karunanidhi and his companions erased the name Dalmiapuram 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.

At the age of 33, Karunanidhi entered the Tamil Nadu assembly by winning the Kulithalai seat in the 1957 election. He became the DMK treasurer in 1961 and deputy leader of opposition in the state assembly in the year 1962 and when the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam came to power in 1967, he became the Minister for Public Works.

When Annadurai died in 1969, Karunanidhi became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and the first leader of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, since the leader post was customarily left vacant for Periyar during Annadurai time as Annadurai was party general secretary only. He is holding various positions in the party and government during his long career in Tamil Nadu political arena.

Karunanidhi had a brief stint as Chief Minister in the late 1980s, in which his government was dismissed by the Central government on accusations of degrading the law and order situation in the state after Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. He then again became the CM of Tamil Nadu in 1996 following a sweeping electoral win in the preceding elections.

He delivered the special speech on the inaugural day of 3rd World Tamil Conference held in Paris in 1970, and also on the inaugural day of 6th World Tamil Conference held in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) in 1987. He coined the song “Semmozhiyaana Tamizh Mozhiyaam”, the official theme song for the World Classical Tamil Conference 2010 that was set to tune by A. R. Rahman.

‘Ulaga Tamizh Manadu’, was the first penned word for the conference in 2010, however, the IATR organization that had the right to conduct the conference was not happy hence change in name.


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