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At 82, The Comeback Kid

The Fighter

June 3, 1924. Thirukuvalai village, Thanjavur district. A son is born to Muthuvel and Anjugam. The baby is named Karunanidhi. It is not an affluent household, this home of an ordinary farmer.

Karunanidhi is not academically inclined. He is more interested in drama, poetry and Tamil literature. In 1932, he listens to Alagiriswami -- the great orator from the Justice Party who is in Thiruvarur to address a meeting. So moved is the boy by the speech that he decides to be part of the Justice movement.

He gathers children in the area and form a youth association. He names it Sangam, and it is to be his platform to train children in the art of public speaking and writing. He dreams of spreading Sangam's activities across the state and renames it the All Students' Unity Kazhagam.

That is the beginning of Karunanidhi's tryst with writing. He starts a group, the Tamil Manavar Manram, to bring together youngsters and propagate their love for the Tamil language and culture. That love is as intense today as it was decades ago. At 82, he still writes daily for his party's newspaper Murasoli.

Text: Shobha Warrier | Photographs: AFP/Getty Images

Also See: Karunanidhi: Sachin of TN politics

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