The past few weeks have certainly been tough ones for senior politicians in Tamil Nadu. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) supremo and patriarch M. Karunanidhi, popularly referred to as Kalaignar, was hospitalized late in the night on Thursday, 15 December, 2016. Karunanidhi was diagnosed with throat and lung infection and had complained of difficulty in breathing. He is 93 years old. Kalaignar is the grand old man of Tamil politics, the senior-most leader in the state. Many across the state have been praying for his health.
Karunanidhi had been admitted to the Kauvery Hospital at Adayar (in Chennai) on Thursday night. He had to undergo a tracheotomy to ease his breathing troubles. Tracheostomy is a procedure where the trachea is pierced and the hole enables the lungs to be connected directly to a respiratory system. The Executive Director of Kauvery Hospital, Dr. A Aravindan issued a statement that said that the senior leader was stable. “Karunanidhi was re-admitted on Thursday with breathing difficulty due to throat and lung infection. He has undergone tracheostomy and is on antibiotics. He is stable and is being treated by a team of doctors,” added the statement.
This is the second time that the DMK leader has been hospitalized in the past month. On December 1, 2016, Karunanidhi had initially been admitted to Kauvery hospital following the diagnosis of a drug allergy. At the time, doctors had said that the treatment aimed at “optimisation of nutrition and hydration”. He had been released on December 7, 2016, after his condition had been found stable. Prior to this, he had taken ill in October 2016 when his party had issued a bulletin to its leaders and members asking them to refrain from visiting the leader during his health crisis.
Despite his age and despite being bound to his wheel chair since 2010, M Karunanidhi has kept active both on the social and political front. During the Tamil Nadu state legislative Assembly elections, held in May 2016, he had campaigned actively, even addressing as many as two dozen rallies. It may, however, be time for him to retire from active involvement. It now looks highly likely that Karunanidhi’s son MK Stalin will take over as the working president of DMK in the upcoming party General Council, which is scheduled to be held on December 20, 2016.
He took to politics at the early age of 14. His career has been a multifaceted one, though. In 1942, Karunanidhi founded the popular newspaper Murasoli and functioned as its editor for a long time. The newspaper soon became the official mouthpiece of the DMK party and was used largely for propaganda. Karunanidhi is immensely popular as a polished and suave orator. He used his command over the Tamil language to pen numerous stories which would be historic in them but would carry a social message as well. Like many of the popular politicians from the state, Karunanidhi holds deep ties with the film and entertainment industry. Karunanidhi started his career as a popular playwright and has been the man behind the popularity of movies such as Parashakti. He has served as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for five terms.