Muscat: Indian expatriates paid tribute to Muthuvel Karunanidhi, the five-time chief minister of Tamil Nadu, who died on Tuesday at the age of 94.
The outspoken leader, whose reputation as a fighter for social justice earned him the support of millions, transformed the Indian state with policies that helped the marginalised communities.
Speaking to the Times of Oman, Srinivasan S., Convener of the Indian Social Club-Tamil Wing, said, “He was one of the most experienced and respected leaders in India.”
Karunanidhi, who always appeared in public with dark glasses and a yellow shawl draped across his shoulder, built his career fighting oppression and supporting education.
Srinivasan added, “He was a guardian for all Tamils and made a lot of important changes during his time in office. One example is the many laws he introduced to help women. Before his time, women were not allowed to inherit property. It was only given to males. That was changed during Karunanidhi’s time. As a Tamil figure, he was one of the very best. His death leaves a major void among the Tamil community that no one can fill. It is a major loss.”
Ali Niyaz, Audit Partner at Morison Muscat, said, “Karunanidhi, who is known as Kalaignar, was a great statesman and a great Tamil scholar who wrote numerous books and plays. His demise is a big loss for the state.”
Regarding his policies, Niyaz said, “He worked for the upliftment of the Dravidian people. Also, as a cultured man, culture was given high priority during his time. He also did so much for the poor. He scripted many plays and wrote a large body of works. Not only was he a scholar, but he also wrote about other major Tamil literary figures. He was definitely a giant and I do not think we will see another person like him.”
A native of Tamil Nadu residing in Muscat said, “While in my time he was already elderly, he was without a doubt a great leader. The state is truly going to miss him. He lead all of us Tamils. His policies had a major impact on everyone, including myself. Most of them targeted the poor and downtrodden and transformed their lives.”
Supporters on Twitter also voiced their appreciation for the famous South Indian leader.
Bollywood and Tamil cinema star Prakash Raj wrote, “Kalaingar. Rising Sun..voice of Tamil Pride. A social revolutionary. Met him as a role in a script of Iruvar...read him, played him, and finally met him. Loads of memories. His warmth when I achieved those vicious witty jibes and smile when I differed with him...will miss you chief. RIP.”
Tamil actor Rajnikanth also wrote, “This is a black day, the likes I have not seen in my life as an artist. Let his soul rest in peace.”
The former Chief Minister’s impact on Tamil Nadu was perhaps best summed up by Indian Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi, who wrote on Twitter, “Loved by the Tamil people, Kalaignar strode the stage of Tamil politics, like a colossus, for over six decades. In his passing, India has lost a great son.”