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Obituary: My brief moment with M Karunanidhi when i missed to quote him as Kalaignar

By Satya Narayan Sahu | PUBLISHED: 08, Aug 2018, 10:24 am IST | UPDATED: 10, Aug 2018, 17:21 pm IST

Obituary: My brief moment with M Karunanidhi when i missed to quote him as Kalaignar New Delhi: M. Karunanidhi, reverentially known as Kalaignar is no more. I recall that four years back DMK MP Tiruchi Siva invited me to participate in a meeting to unveil the portrait of his wife who passed away untimely because of breast cancer. 

It was a massive meeting attended by more than 7000 people in DMK office and when Kaliagnar entered the hall people stood up raising their hands and it seemed that they were cast by the spell of Kalignar. He was indeed an iconic public figure of modern India who played a key role in shaping destiny of Tamil Nadu and India. 

In that meeting I was asked to share dias with stalwarts which included DMK leader M Karunanidhi. It was a historic experience. Before I was asked to speak most of the speakers spoke and they all spoke in Tamil. I was the only one who spoke in English and I began by saying "Mr. Karunanidhi" and concluded by invoking the name of Ramaswamy Mudaliar who in 1920s edited "Justice", the mouthpiece of Justice Party which spearheaded the anti Brahmin movement. 

In fact Mudaliar quoted Swami Vivekananda to further the cause of Dravidian movement. It was a thrilling experience to stand in presence of an iconic figure like M Karunanidhi and speak. After the event several people came to me and said that I should have said Kalignar and not Karunanidhi before commencing my speech. Then they added by saying that had I referred to him as Kalaignar then I would have touched the responsive chord of people. 

I felt very small for having addressed him as Mr. Karunanidhi and not as Kalaignar. Later after several months Tiruchi Siva told me that Karunanidhi was remembering me by saying that that man from Odisha did well in attending the programme. I am grateful to Siva for giving me that opportunity to share dias with Kalaignar, an outstanding public figure of modern India.

# Mr Satya Narayan Sahu was OSD and Press Secretary to the late President of India Shri K.R. Narayanan and served as Director in the Prime Minister's Office. He is currently Joint Secretary in the Rajya Sabha Secretariat. The views expressed by him are personal and not that of Rajya Sabha Secretariat.
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