Karunanidhi championed diversity, regional identity, say activists

Political activists and writers paid rich tributes to Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam patriarch M. Karunanidhi, who passed away on Tuesday, describing him as a man who championed regional identity, stood for diversity, and abhorred communal politics. At a condolence meeting at the Freedom Park in Bengaluru on Wednesday evening, K. Marulasiddappa, president, Kuvempu Bhasha Bharathi Pradhikara, hailed the leader as one who was able to ensure that social justice and politics went hand in hand.

Neighbourly relations

“Today, politicians attempt to flare-up passions over the dispute of Cauvery water sharing. Karunanidhi, when in power, was able to maintain amiability between the two States,” he said, emphasising the need for ensuring friendly relations with the neighbouring State.

Today, the political movement is steered towards a single national narrative of language, culture, and religion.

In these times, the manner in which the DMK patriarch stood for diversity and asserted regional identity stands out, he added.

Dinesh Amin Mattu, senior journalist and former media adviser to former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, described the leader as someone who led a unique political movement. “With him, social and political movement went together. Hence, communal politics did not thrive in Tamil Nadu. We have seen several actors stepping into politics, taking advantage of their popularity. However, Karunanidhi was a rare case where he was able to efficiently make use of it for social development,” he said, adding that under Karunanidhi’s regime, Tamil Nadu was among the first States to implement several progressive legislations.

Tamil Sangham

The Bengaluru Tamil Sangham also held a condolence meeting to pay respects to the leader. The sangham has fond memories of Karunanidhi, who contributed Rs. 50,000 towards the sangham building.

“This was 20 years ago. On the occasion of his birthday, he had made a contribution to our building here,” said Tamil Sangham president Damodaran T.G.. “He was able to strengthen ties between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu,” he added.

CM in Chennai

Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara, and the former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah paid their last respects to Karunanidhi in Chennai on Wednesday.

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