Kanimozhi Karunanidhi, born on January 5, 1968, is a multi-talented Indian politician, poet, journalist, and a prominent member of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). She has carved a niche for herself in Indian politics, representing the Thoothukkudi constituency in the Lok Sabha. Her journey is marked by a passion for public service, literary contributions, and unwavering dedication to the welfare of her constituents.
Early Life and Journalism
Before venturing into the world of politics, Kanimozhi had a successful career in journalism. She served as a sub-editor for the widely respected newspaper, The Hindu, and later took charge as the editor of Kungumam, a Tamil weekly magazine. Her journalistic journey also extended to a Singapore-based Tamil newspaper named Tamil Murasu, where she held the position of features editor.
Social and Cultural Engagement
Kanimozhi's interests go beyond the realm of politics. She has been a strong advocate for pan-Tamil issues, passionately supporting initiatives aimed at preserving Tamil culture and heritage. Her dedication to empowering women is evident in her efforts to organise programs that uplift and educate women. Kanimozhi has also been a vocal champion for the welfare of differently-abled individuals and transgender people, actively working towards creating a more inclusive society.
In 2005, along with Karthi Chidambaram, she founded a portal to promote free speech and provide a platform for diverse voices to be heard. This commitment to freedom of expression underscores her commitment to democratic values.
Chennai Sangamam and Job Fairs
In 2007, Kanimozhi conceived the idea of Chennai Sangamam, an annual open Tamil cultural festival celebrated during the Pongal season. This event serves as a celebration of Tamil culture and brings the community together.
She has also spearheaded DMK's efforts to organise job fairs, a crucial initiative to create employment opportunities for the youth in rural Tamil Nadu. Under the banner 'Kalaignar 85', these job fairs are conducted in smaller cities, towns, and villages, ensuring that young people have access to promising career prospects.
Kanimozhi is not just a dedicated politician but also a prolific writer. She has authored several literary works, including "Sigarangalil Uraikiradhu Kaalam," "Agathinai," "Paarvaigal," "Karukkum Marudhaani," and "Karuvarai Vaasanai." Her literary talents have been recognised and appreciated, with her works being translated into English, Malayalam, Telugu, and Kannada.
One of her notable literary endeavours includes working on a production titled "Silappadikaram, A Woman of Substance." This production is based on the ancient Tamil epic "Silappathikaram" and reflects her deep-rooted connection to Tamil culture and history.
Personal and Family Life
Kanimozhi's journey into politics was greatly influenced by her illustrious family. She is the daughter of the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M. Karunanidhi, and his third wife, Rajathi Ammal. Her half-brothers, M. K. Alagiri and M. K. Stalin, have also left a significant mark on Indian politics, with M. K. Stalin currently serving as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
Kanimozhi has been married twice, first in 1989 to Athiban Bose, a businessman from Sivakasi, and later to G. Aravindan, a Singapore-based Tamil writer, in 1997. She is the mother of a son named Aditya Aravindan.
Kanimozhi's political journey began when the DMK nominated her as one of their candidates for the Rajya Sabha in May 2007. She became a Rajya Sabha member for the second time in 2013, during which she led the DMK in the house and represented the state of Tamil Nadu in the upper house.
In a significant move, Kanimozhi was elected from the Thoothukkudi constituency as the first female Member of Parliament for the 17th Lok Sabha in 2019. Her dedication to her constituents and her party's values led to her appointment as the DMK's deputy leader in the Lok Sabha. As of her last known positions in September 2019 and September 2022, she held the position of chairperson for the Parliament Standing Committee on Chemicals and Fertilizers and Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, respectively.
Kanimozhi's impact extends beyond politics, as she became the first woman to be elected as the president of The Hindu National Press Employees Union. She is known for her role in encouraging women to join politics and has organised training camps for district-level office-bearers of the women's wing. Her dedication to women's rights was also evident when she organised a rally in Delhi, advocating for the passage of the women's reservation bill in parliament.
Her unwavering commitment to public service was further highlighted when, on October 9, 2022, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and the DMK President, M. K. Stalin, appointed Kanimozhi as the deputy general secretary of the DMK party, reaffirming her influential role in the party.
The 2G Spectrum Case
Kanimozhi faced a challenging period when she was implicated in the 2G spectrum case. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) alleged her involvement in the operations of Kalaignar TV, a channel in which she had a 20% stake. The charges also alleged that she worked closely with former telecom minister A. Raja to facilitate the routing of funds to Kalaignar TV through dubious means.
Despite spending 190 days in Tihar Jail in 2011, Kanimozhi maintained her stance that she had no involvement in the financial aspects or the liability of a director. During the trial, several witnesses cleared her name by attesting that she had no day-to-day involvement in Kalaignar TV's affairs. In a surprising turn of events, on December 21, 2017, a special CBI court acquitted her, along with 19 others accused, including A. Raja, in the 2G spectrum allocation cases, citing a lack of evidence to support the charges.
Kanimozhi Karunanidhi's political journey has been marked by her unwavering dedication to public service, her commitment to preserving Tamil culture, and her unyielding support for women's rights. Her literary contributions and multifaceted approach to issues make her a prominent figure in Indian politics and an inspiration to many aspiring politicians.