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Muthuvel Karunanidhi Biography


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

Personal Life

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



Karunanidhi started his career as a screenwriter in the Tamil film industry. He usually used to write historical and social (reformist) stories. It also helped to propagate the socialist and rationalist ideals of the Dravidian movement. Through the movie Parasakthi, his political ideas were propagated. The movie had elements that criticised Brahmanism, because of which many orthodox Hindus opposed it. Two other movies were written by him which had similar messages were Panam and Thangarathnam. Two of his plays were banned in the 1950s because they carried strong social messages.


Karunanidhi has contributed much to Tamil literature. He contributed into stage-plays, poems, screenplays, letters, novels, historical novels, biographies, dialogues and movie songs. He has written for Kuraloviam for Tholkaappiya Poonga, Thirukural and Poombukar. He has also written many poems, books and essays. Some of the books written by him include Vellikizhamai, Sanga Thamizh, Romapuri Pandian, Nenjukku Needhi, Thirukkural Urai, Ponnar Sankar, Thenpandi Singam, Iniyavai Irubathu and Kuraloviam.


He started working for Jupiter Pictures as a scriptwriter at the age of 20. He wrote numerous screenplays including Rajakumaari, Devaki, Thirumbi Paar, Naam, Manohara, Malaikkallan, Rangoon Radha, Kuravanji, Kaanchi Thalaivan, Thayillapillai and Poompuhar, Poomalai.


Karunanidhi was 14 years old when he entered politics. He began a student organisation called Tamil Nadu Tamil Manavar Mandram. This was the first student wing of the Dravidian Movement. He also started a newspaper, Murasoli for the student community which later became the official paper of DMK party. His involvement in the Kallakudi agitation in Kallakudi made him gain ground in Tamil politics.

In 1957, he was elected to the Tamil Nadu assembly from Kulithalai assembly. In 1961, he became the DMK treasurer and a year after in 1962 he became the opposition’s deputy leader in the state assembly. He became the minister for public works in 1967. In 1969 Annadurai expired and Karunanidhi became the Chief Minister of the state. He served the state as a chief minister five times and later succeeded by Jayalalitha.

M. Karunanidhi breathed his last on August 7, 2018, at Kauvery Hospital in Chennai after suffering from prolonged age-related health illness.

Awards and Titles

  • In 1971, he received an honourary doctorate from Annamalai University.
  • He received “Raja Rajan Award” from Tamil University, Thanjavur for his book “Thenpandi Singam”.
  • On the occasion of the 40th annual convocation, he was conferred an honourary doctorate by the Governor of Tamil Nadu and the Chancellor of Madurai Kamaraj University, Surjit Singh
  • Barnala on 15 December 2006.
  • In June 2007, it was announced by the Tamil Nadu Muslim Makkal Katchi that M.Karunanidhi would be conferred the title ‘Friend of the Muslim Community’ (‘Yaaran-E-Millath’).