N Ram, Kanimozhi Karunanidhi and Dr N Ezhilan paid homage to the Dravidian movements and late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.

At The Hindu LitFest A tribute to Kalaignar KarunanidhiInstagram: @hindulitforlife
news Event Sunday, January 13, 2019 - 19:12

In an interesting session at The Hindu’s Lit for Life 2019 literature festival in Chennai, senior journalist N Ram, DMK Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi and social activist and physician Dr N Ezhilan paid homage to Dravidian leader and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M Karunanidhi, who passed away in the city on August 7, 2018 after a prolonged illness.

The session, titled Dravidian Ideology in Praxis: Homage to Kalaignar Karunanidhi, was hosted by Chairman of The Hindu Publishing Group, N Ram who requested Kanimozhi and Ezhilan to reflect on their relationship with Karunanidhi as well as his views on the criticism that the Dravidian movement has faced.

Setting the tone with a question on the Dravidian movement in which Karunanidhi played a significant part, N Ram asked Kanimozhi on about the components essential to the movement.

“It is all about social justice. It is about self respect, the caste system and its perils, gender justice – you can’t say what is left out. It is what we call today as human rights. It talks about a scientific temper. One of the ideologies is to address inequality in the name of caste, class etc. Our leader Kalaignar (Karunanidhi) always stood for job opportunities and equality. The DMK and the Dravidian leaders brought Tamil to the common person and made it approachable. They shared whatever they read. And they spoke about Greek and Roman mythology, the Sangam literature. They took away the distance between literature and the common person,” she said.

Remembering her father, an amused Kanimozhi said that she was as exasperated as anyone as to how the late leader managed his time efficiently to accommodate a number of appointments. “I'm always asked, ‘oh your father wouldn't have found time for you?’ Nothing can be further than the truth. He had the time, he made the time for all of us. He would be ready by 4.30-5 am and he read all the newspapers. I don’t know how but he always found the time,” she said.

Speaking about the politics of the former DMK President, Dr N Ezhilan, who, along with his family, have been closely associated with Karunanidhi said, "My disappointment in the Dravidian movement is the emergence of the AIADMK. When Kalaignar introduced the eradication of cataract and mobile cataract surgery, he said, 'People got their vision and voted for the AIADMK.' The AIADMK was started to keep the DMK down."

However, he said that there was re-emergence of original Dravidian movement among the youth.

Having interacted with him as a journalist since 1969, N Ram for his part added that Karunanidhi was among the approachable politicians, remembering him ‘for his unsurpassed contributions to politics, federalism and literature.’

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