Karunanidhi – Leader of the largest atheist Political Party
“It is said that there was a God Thousands of years ago called Ram. Do not touch the bridge built by him. I ask who is this Ram? Which engineering college did he graduate from?” – Kalaignar Karunanidhi.
Karunanidhi, the leader of the largest atheist Political Party has passed away today evening at 94. For decades three nationalists have shaped the Tamil Nadu politics fighting superstitions, casteism and many other social evils and were committed to the principles of social justice, they are – Periyar, Annadurai, Karunanidhi.
Though influenced by Periayar at a very young age and didn’t believe in God or his existence but has never barred his wife or any of his family not to believe, for which has been criticized many a times. “Even though I am an atheist, I very well know that some around me and in the DMK aren’t totally committed to that ideology. I never impose my party’s ideas, especially those relating to divinity, on others. Not even on members of my family,” Karunanidhi was quoted as saying by The Hindu in 2015.
Few facts on Karunanidhi
- Karunanidhi real name was Mu Dakshinamurthy belonged to the Isai Vellalar community, which has produced a number of nadaswaram players.
- He lived in the Temple town called Tiruvayyur opposite Tyagaraja temple
- He did his elementary education from a neighborhood school and had to walk 20km up and down.
- Karunanidhi decided against learning how to play the instrument because convention required musicians to perform bare-chested and this was not acceptable as the follower of periyar and Dravidian ideology.
- EV Ramasamy, known popularly as Periyar, was with the Congress when Karunanidhi was born but quit to launch the self-respect movement. In 1944, Periyar founded the Dravidar Kazhagam.
- The non-Brahmin movement attracted thousands of young men and women, including the CN Annadurai,
Periyar has been a harsh critic of the Aryan influenced Hinduism in Tamil Nadu, more than the faiths of Islam, Buddhism and Christianity.
- Karunanidhi spoke a lot about alternative to Brahamanic Hinduism.
- He believed that, religion goes hand in hand with superstition and fear. Religion prevents progress and suppresses man. Religion exploits the suppressed classes.
- Karunanidhi, part of the Dravidian Self – respect movement believed that there is no Dravidian Vedas it is the invasion of Aryan’s.
- There have been many allegations too against the Kalaignar, that sometimes took the Caste factor in districts for political reasons though his Dravidian movement fight was against the Brahminical order of caste system.
- Karunanidhi’s lowest point came when he chose to be part of the BJP government in 1999. BJP being the ideologically opposite to what his Dravidian movement believed.
- Karunanidhi was also partly responsible for Dravidian politics losing its radical sheen and succumbing to the pressures of electoral politics.
- In 2014, conscious of the anti-Hindu image his party was being given, Karunanidhi decided to write the script for a television series about the Vaishnavite philosopher-sage Ramanuja. He justified it by claiming that his party was opposed to Hindu fundamentalism and not Hindus.
- For all his contradictions, Karunanidhi leaves behind a rich legacy. He was a champion of rationalism, was against Hindutva and religion fundamentalism.