Contribution to Tamil language, sole criterion
People honoured irrespective of their political affiliation Many non-DMK members received the awards and a great many of them turned up at the award function
CHENNAI: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M. Karunanidhi on Monday presented the Kalaignar awards to three persons who had excelled in their fields of activity.
The awards, carrying Rs. 1 lakh cash, a memento, shawl and a citation, were presented to veteran journalist Thyagarajan (Chinnakkuthusi), poet M. Mehta and artist Jeyaraj.
Mr. Mehta was among the pioneers of modern Tamil poetry and simplified it to attract a wider audience. Mr. Jeyaraj proved that there was a place for illustrations in Tamil literature and was a pioneer in backlit illustrations here. Mr. Thyagarajan writes regular columns in the DMK party newspaper, Murasoli, and is known for his writings on Tamil politics and social justice.
Mr. Karunanidhi said the Murasoli Trust, which instituted the awards, honoured people irrespective of their political affiliation. Only their contribution to the language and the arts were taken into consideration, he added. That was the reason why many non-DMK members had received the awards and also a great many of them turned up for the function, he said.
Referring to comments made by some speakers, he said that he hoped that the mind of the Tamil would be prepared to throw out the "wild fire" that engulfed the State. Earlier, Tamilaruvi Manian, TNCC general secretary, compared the slew of welfare measures announced recently to a grain that a caged parrot got each time it picked a card for a fortune teller. He said that the Tamil people would not behave in a similar manner in the forthcoming elections.
DMK general secretary K. Anbazhagan, who listed the past recipients of the honour, said that the awards had the broad objective of promoting Tamil language and culture.
M.K. Stalin, chairman, Murasoli Trust, S. Kuppusamy and S.A.M. Hussain, members of the trust, and K.M. Khader Mohideen, MP, were among those who highlighted the activities of the trust.