Chennai: The Dravidian icon and DMK chief M. Karunanidhi who pleaded with his mentor C. N. Annadurai for his heart, finally rests besides Anna’s memorial on the sands of the Marina.
The journey from Rajaji Hall to Marina Beach to his final resting place was marked with emotional scenes and teary-eyed family members including his sobbing sons and daughters: M. K. Stalin, Alagiri and Tamilarasu, and Selvi and Kanimozhi, who paid floral tributes before the coffin holding Karunanidhi’s body was lowered to the ground at about 7 pm.
Earlier, the body of the five-time chief minister, draped in national tricolour with his trademark black glasses, yellow shawl, white shirt and dhothi on, was taken for his burial in an open procession in a military gun carriage from the Rajaji Hall at 4 pm. A sea of supporters lined up along the route to get a final glimpse of the departed leader and raised slogans for their ‘Thalaivar.’ Weeping family members, including Stalin and others, followed them.
The military gun carriage inched its way to the Marina beach about 1.7 km from Rajaji Hall. Many in the procession were clad in black shirts and displayed pictures and banners of the late leader who breathed his last at Kauvery hospital Tuesday evening, after battling for 11 days.
The body was kept for a couple of hours at his Gopalapuram residence and later at his daughter Kanimozhi’s CIT Colony residence for public veneration, before being shifted to the Rajaji Hall in the early hours of Wednesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the galaxy of political leaders and prominent citizens who paid his last respects to Kaliagnar at the historic place. Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami, Deputy CM Panneerselvam and their colleagues paid respects.
Karunanidhi was laid to rest with a 27-gun salute. Prior to this, the tricolour draped around him was removed from his body by the military personnel and handed over to Stalin. Stalin, Alagiri and Tamilarasu wept in front of his father’s body inconsolably, while an emotionally charged Kanimozhi gently touched her father’s cheeks as if to bid him goodbye.
At the time of Anna’s death early February, 1969, ‘Kalaignar’ wrote the best eulogy ever for a political leader, requesting Anna to lend him his heart, which he promised to return when he comes to visit his departed mentor. Now he rests eternally besides Anna’s Samadhi; not far from the memorial of his bête noire Jayalalithaa and her mentor MGR.
Chosen by Karunanidhi, the epitaph on Annaurai’s samadhi reads thus: Edhaiyum thaangum idhayam ingeye urangugiradhu (the brave heart is resting here). And on the sandalwood coffin of Karunanidhi is engraved the epitaph which he dictated to his son Stalin 33 years ago in Tamil: oyvillamal ulaithavan itho oyvu kondirukiran (The man who worked without rest, is now resting).