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M. Karunanidhi, 94: the end of an era

M. Karunanidhi (1924-2018)
His passing marks the end of an era in Tamil Nadu’s politics, and leaves a political void

The life story of Muthuvel Karunanidhi is also a history of Tamil Nadu politics. A five-time Chief Minister, and the longest serving legislator(विधायक), winning 13 terms in the Assembly and not losing even once, Karunanidhi was the engineer of many of the progressive(प्रगतिशील/उन्नतिशील) measures(उपाय कार्यवाही) adopted(अपनाया ) by the State since Independence. As the leader of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an offshoo(शाखा)t of the rationalist(तर्कसंगत ) social reform(सुधार करना/फिर से बनाना) movement, the Dravidar Kazhagam, he was an influential(प्रभावशाली /प्रभावी) figure(आंकड़ा) at both State and national levels, whether in or out of power. He excelled(श्रेष्ठ होना/उत्कृष्ट प्रदर्शन) as both administrator and organiser, adopting different styles, but always displaying(प्रदर्शित) a clinical efficiency(कार्यक्षमता/दक्षता) while interacting(बातचीत/परस्पर प्रभाव डालना) with bureaucrats(नौकरशाहों) and party workers. Although his administrative acumen(कुशाग्रता/बुद्धि-प्रखरता) was often(अक्सर ) contrasted(विपरीत) with the welfarism(कल्याण) of his political rival(प्रतिद्वंद्वी ), M.G. Ramachandran, Karunanidhi was not beyond the draw of populism. Extending(फैलाव/बढ़ाव) the Public(सार्वजनिक) Distribution(वितरण ) System(प्रणाली) and increasing food subsidies were coupled with efforts at generating(बनानेवाला/उत्पादक) employment and encouraging industrial investment. Towards the latter part of his political career, he emulated(प्रतियोगिता करना/अनुसरण करना) his political opponents(विरोधियों,), MGR and Jayalalithaa, in handing(सौंपना) out freebies(मुफ्त) indiscriminately(अंधाधुंध/अविचारपूर्वक) to every household, rich or poor. He was a crusader(धर्म युद्ध करने वाला) for federalism(संघवाद), often standing up to the Centre for the State’s rights. He was one of the foremost opponents of the Emergency. In 1976 and 1991, his governments were dismissed by the Centre, the first time citing (हवाला देना/अदालत में तलब करना) corruption(भ्रष्टाचार) charges, and the second time citing support to the terror outfit, the Liberation(मुक्ति/आज़ादी) Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

In his home State, he ran the DMK with an iron hand; at the same time, he provided some space for the second rung, even indulging(लिप्त/प्रसन्न करना) the odd(अजीब/अतिरिक्त ) dissenter(विरोधी/असंतोष) now and then, as long as there was no threat(धमकी/आशंका) to his leadership. District secretaries and ministers had a long reign under him. His longevity(दीर्घायु/लम्बी उम्र) permitted him the leeway to promote his immediate family members to positions of power within the party and the government. His designated(नामित/निर्दिष्ट ) successor(उत्तराधिकारी), his younger son M.K. Stalin, had to work his way up the party ladder — from ordinary worker and youth wing leader before being accommodated(समायोजित/अनुकूल बनाना) in the top rungs of the party and government. But elder son M.K. Alagiri and grand-nephew Dayanidhi Maran were rewarded with Cabinet berths in their very first terms in the Lok Sabha. Karunanidhi will be remembered for being an astute(चतुर/अजीब)politician, one with a quick wit and ready repartee(हाजिर जवाबी); an able administrator with an uncanny eye for detail and a keen sense(भावना) of the occasion((अवसर/स्थिति) ; and as an elder statesman who could take the long-term view of events and issues. He straddled different generations and contrasting worlds with a reflexive(बाध्य/पूर्व सम्बन्धी) ease. With his passing, less than two years after his rival Jayalalithaa succumbed(मृत्यु को प्राप्त होना) to illness, Tamil Nadu is staring at a huge political void, one that that will be very hard to fill.



Important Vocabulary

Synonyms: agnostic, cynic, dissenter, doubter, pessimist
Antonyms: believer, optimist, devotee, disciple

Synonyms: ability, adaptability, capability, competence, energy
Antonyms: idleness, ignorance, impotence, inability, inadequacy

3.Measures(उपाय कार्यवाही)
Synonyms: part, quota, allotment, allowance, amount
Antonyms: extreme, unimportant, whole, ignorance, inaction

Synonyms: achieve, bring about, cause, develop, engender
Antonyms: destroy, end, fail, finish, halt

5.Crusader(धर्म युद्ध करने वाला) 
Synonyms: agitator, campaigner, zealot, champion, progressive

6.Citing (हवाला देना/अदालत में तलब करना)
Synonyms: allege, allude to, indicate, mention, name
Antonyms: conceal, deny, take, withhold, forget

Synonyms: abolition, deliverance, democracy, emancipation, salvation

8.Indulging(लिप्त/प्रसन्न करना)
Synonyms: entertain, nourish, pamper, satiate, satisfy
Antonyms: deprive, dissatisfy, ignore, neglect, annoy

9.Designated(नामित/निर्दिष्ट ) 
Synonyms: label, nominate, baptize, call, christen

Synonyms: incident, moment, opening, opportunity, possibility
Antonyms: misfortune

11.Succumbed(मृत्यु को प्राप्त होना)
Synonyms: bow, break down, buckle, capitulate, cave in
Antonyms: continue, defend, fight, ascend, be born

Synonyms: adroit, canny, crafty, discerning, insightful
Antonyms: foolish, idiotic, inept, naive, stupid



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