Murasoli, the first child of Karunanidhi

Updated - November 28, 2021 08:32 am IST

Published - August 08, 2018 12:51 am IST

 Politics & the pen: A statue of M. Karunanidhi, put up as part of Murasoli’s platinum jubilee celebrations.

Politics & the pen: A statue of M. Karunanidhi, put up as part of Murasoli’s platinum jubilee celebrations.

M. Karunanidhi used to call it his first child. Murasoli, the official organ of the DMK, launched in 1942, celebrated its platinum jubilee last year.

 “At various points, most leaders of the Dravidian movement ran journals or magazines, and their number exceeded 250. Today, besides Viduthalai, the Dravidar Kazhagam daily, only Murasoli survives. It shows Kalaignar’s commitment to the paper,” says K. Thirunavukkarasu, a historian of the Dravidian movement, who has penned a monograph on these journals.

 Even Nam Naadu, the first official organ of the DMK edited by its founder C.N. Annadurai in 1953, and A.V.P. Asai Thambi’s Thaniarasu have folded up.

Magazine for students

Mr. Karunanidhi, who mobilised students against the imposition of Hindi in 1938, used to run a manuscript magazine Maanava Nesan. In 1941, he launched the Tamil Nadu Maanavar Mandram and the leaders who addressed the first anniversary of the organisation were K. Anbazhagan and K.A. Mathiazhagan.

 “As I had no money, I pledged my gold chain for ₹50 to give conveyance charges to the speakers,” Mr. Karunanidhi recalled in his autobiography, Nenjukku Neethi.

 When Murasoli was published as a pamphlet, Mr. Karunanidhi assumed the pen name Cheran, and his close friend Thennan was secretary of the Dravidar Kazhagam. He wrote a hard-hitting critical piece in Murasoli in 1944 when a conference in support of ‘varnasramam’ was organised. It was titled “Varnama, Maanama?”

“Murasoli was printed on Mondays and sent to the branches of Dravidar Kazhagam. Donations from the members helped me to bring out the magazine,” he wrote in his autobiography. “In 1948, it was re-launched as a weekly. But after 25 issues, it was  again closed as he joined Modern Theatres, Salem, as a script and dialogue writer for films,” says Mr. Thirunavukkarasu.

After settling in Chennai, Mr. Karunanidhi re-launched it as a weekly; it became a daily on September 17, 1960. He  also created a trust for running Murasoli, and it has ensured that the daily will survive all financial odds.

 Even though it remains a link between Mr. Karunanidhi and the party cadre, he complained many a time that the leaders were not reading the daily.  He wrote regularly and his ‘Udanpirappuku Kaditham’ to the cadre conveyed the party line on various issues. Mr. Karunanidhi made it a point to visit the Murasoli office in Kodambakkam even when he was Chief Minister and go through the news items.

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