Mr Muthuvelar Thadchenamoorthy, alias Kalaignar Karunanidhi, the patriarch of Dravidian nationalism in Tamil Nadu, has passed away today.
Mr Karunanidhi, aged 94, was hospitalised on 28 July and had remained in a critical and unstable condition for the past 24 hours.
The DMK (Dravida Munetra Kalakam) chief began his political career at the age of 14, ascending to the party’s top post at the age of 44 and five-times remaining Tamil Nadu’s chief minister.
He was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu and a partner in the Indian government in 2008-2009 when the Sri Lankan state intensified its genocidal onslaught against the Eelam Tamils, an act that had the backing of the Indian state.
A voracious writer and poet, Karunanidhi was accused by Eelam Tamils in the aftermath of Sri Lanka’s military victory in May 2009 of stiring up Tamil and Dravidian nationalist sentiments to gain political power whilst turning a blind eye to the genocide of 146,679 Eelam Tamils .
At the time of his death Karunanidhi’s family wealth was estimated to be at 1.5 billion rupees, even though he is believed to have not even owned a house when he first entered politics.
His opponents have accused him and his family members of acquiring wealth through bribes and other illegal means.