OOTY: While the state paid homage to former chief minister and DMK icon Kalaignar Karunanidhi on his first death anniversary on Wednesday, hill residents recalled Kalaignar’s visit to Doddabetta peak in September 2004 and his tasting Badaga food in Kotagiri in the same month.
Dr. Karunanidhi stayed in the house of T. Gundan, former MLA of Ooty, at his private estate in the Aravenu area in Kotagiri during the second week of September 2004 to pen the screen play for the Tamil movie ‘Kalaignarin Kannamma’. During his stay there, Dr. Kalaignar drove to the Doddabetta peak near here to enjoy the view from the summit top. This visit in 2004 turned out be his last visit to Ooty.
Recalling the incident, R. Ravikumar, deputy secretary of the DMK in the Nilgiris now, said that he was the Ooty town secretary of the DMK then and entrusted with the job of welcoming Dr. Kalaignar at Doddabetta.
“When his convoy arrived in the drizzle, I welcomed him, raising a slogan in praise of him. Dr. Kalaignar, our leader, is responsible for getting official language status for the Tamil language. But Dr. Kalaignar immediately corrected me, saying that only classical language status was accorded to the Tamil language,” Ravikumar explained.
Meanwhile, T. Gundan, who hosted Dr. Karunanidhi at his house in Kotagiri for nearly five days in September 2004, said that Dr. Kalaignar tasted Badaga foods like ‘avarai udhakka’ (hill beans gravy) ‘gaasu poriyal’ (potato side dish) and some hill vegetables cooked in Badaga style, and enjoyed eating them....