Karunanidhi was one of the all-time Tamil greats. Greater than a pantheon of contemporary. From poets to thespians of Tamil cinema. Shivaji Ganesan and MGR. Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth. The latter not even Tamil! But the Maratha weighed in with ‘Tamil Stalin’ for Kalaignar to get his lot in sand! A report for Different Truths.
It’s all over, bar the shouting… And the shouting will continue till the curtains come down on the next round of elections.
In these grave times, the big story is that M Karunanidhi got his place on the Marina – to the left of mentor Annadurai. The right is occupied by MGR. And within short distance, the last resting place of J. Jayalalithaa. The two judges of the Madras High Court couldn’t risk their necks in the people’s court. Chief Minister E Palaniswamy will steer clear of Anna Memorial the rest of his life! Unless, he is struck by lightning while in office and gets his place on the Marina.
For Karunanidhi, script-writing being his forte, there was drama in everything surrounding him. In life as well as in death. That he had sand was without doubt. A rare life, too.
One who fenced with friend and equal MGR and then had to take barbs from MGR’s shadow and successor Jayalalithaa. If that was not demeaning, the lady orchestrated a near lynching, in an assembly of mortals, of the man who said in praise of Tamil, “I have no other work, other than praising you!”
Karunanidhi was one of the all-time Tamil greats. Greater than a pantheon of contemporary. From poets to thespians of Tamil cinema. Shivaji Ganesan and MGR. Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth. The latter not even Tamil! But the Maratha weighed in with ‘Tamil Stalin’ for Kalaignar to get his lot in sand!
All the while, Tuesday night, cash-starved doped-out addicts took off with iron barricades set up by the police. Deaths of prominent politicians have their iron lining. August 8, 2018, 14 hours after the sands of time for Karunanidhi ran out, the Madras High Court went into session. It was an opportunity for the acting Chief Justice of Madras high Court to etch his name in Dravidian history. He grabbed it with open hands. Claimed his own legacy!
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswamy’s contention that protocol ruled was hounded out of court. EPS will be sniped at in Dravidian history for trying to be a spoke in the wheel. Protocol, till 11 am August 8, 2018, was that only sitting chief ministers got a Marina burial.
That being said, after a night in limbo, Karunanidhi’s soul must have finally taken off for the Happy Hunting Grounds, where a world of possibilities exists. He can join the Dead Poets Society and with John Keating yell, “Carpe Diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.”
But enough about afterlife. The DMK patriarch won’t be returning. His life was extraordinary and his legacy will remain. Karunanidhi was a colossal in the Dravidian politics of Tamil Nadu. He read the Tamil psyche like few could and E Palaniswamy wouldn’t be able to in two lifetimes.
Karunanidhi was immersed in politics. And politics will be played around his death. Appa’s two sons – Stalin and Alagiri – will squabble over the legacy. Stalin is in the chair, chosen heir by Kalaignar, with first victory under his belt – won his father a place on the Marina next to Anna. Alagiri will take that defeat to his grave.
Stalin may even get his spot on the Marina. Alagiri’s grave will be nowhere on the beach. That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t stop trying. Salvos will be fired from Madurai. But pictures show Stalin pumping iron in the Gym. The iron lining!
That said the war is between AIADMK and DMK. The best thing going for Stalin is a direct line of legacy. Lots of the Tamil are dynasty followers. There is the Gujarati Model – MK Gandhi, Sardar Patel and Narendra Damodardass Modi – and there is the Nehru-Gandhi Model – Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhi and Gandhi. The Tamil are partial to the Gandhi Model.
Talking of politicians, a number of big sharks in Indian politics were in Chennai as Karunanidhi’s body lay in State, draped in the tricolour, with glasses on. Prime Minister Narendra Modi came and paid his respect. And the tricolour flew half-mast on government buildings. A very big politician kicks the bucket, the tricolour flies at half-mast. That is the flag’s fate.
Talking of the mast, one option not considered was burial at sea. It’s not blasphemy! Karunanidhi was atheist and rationalist. He wouldn’t have given a hoot as to where his mortal remains are disposed of. On land. At sea. Besides, all politicians have a bit of shark in them. ‘Fed to the Sharks’ is a fitting epitaph for the Neta.
Talking of Netagiri, the AIADMK was the big loser. By being petty it ended up hoisted by its own petard! And for the Congress to impute that it was an AIADMK-Centre plot was so much in colour! Quick positioning, too. Carpe Diem, seize the day boys…
Photo from the Internet