conclusion of an epoch: on M. Karunanidhi’s death

conclusion of an epoch: on M. Karunanidhi’s death

“Jakkirathaiya irunga,” he referred to in Tamil, over which his command became legendary. “select care” is how the phrase would translate. however within the way he observed it, laying stress on the double ‘kk’, I might see he meant to claim, “remove every care.” This become on August 13, 2000. i was on my method to Colombo to be a part of duty as excessive Commissioner.

A federal intellect

Calling on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi would were on the desire listing and project listing of any Indian envoy on her or his option to Sri Lanka. however, for me, this turned into now not pretty much protocol. Nor became it about politics, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam DMK then being a vital presence within the countrywide Democratic Alliance executive led through Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It was about undeniable typical feel, sheer self-pastime. There changed into no manner i might current letters of credence in Colombo without checking out what Tamil Nadu’s senior-most and absolutely wide-unsleeping leader idea in regards to the island nation’s travails, the existing and future state of its Tamil population and that of the Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam’s supremo, Velupillai Prabhakaran. to move to Colombo devoid of the ‘enter’ — to use a crassly opportunistic expression — of a veteran of Tamil Nadu’s political chemistry would be absurd. What I needed and changed into to get from him turned into the insight, as an expert as it became indifferent, of ‘one who knew’. The hinterland of any foreign policy is floor potential of the roots of that coverage in the soil of its starting place.

It became not convenient, even for one on ‘important’ respectable duty, to get an appointment with the chief Minister. He had his hands more than full with the complexities of Tamil Nadu’s polity, where facing the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and its charismatic leader J. Jayalalithaa intended being alert 24×7; where operating a executive of which he become the alpha and the omega supposed working harder than the intellect and physique could grasp. And the place, to make matters greater advanced for him, explaining to the people of Tamil Nadu how and why India-Sri Lankan relations had been a international coverage count number and international policy was the prerogative of the Union government became very nearly not possible. He become on the cusp of India’s federal dilemmas.

A lesser flesh presser may have played politics on that fluid crest, just to continue to be ‘on right’. but, as the direct successor-in-office to C.N. Annadurai CNA who had given up secession because the DMK’s policy goal, he changed into going to do nothing of the variety.

the chief Minister changed into seated within the sitting room on the first flooring of his Gopalapuram home in Chennai. He half-rose to greet me, a gesture that neither his age — he turned into seventy six at the time — nor his high office necessitated. “Sir… sir… Please do not get up,” I protested. Sitting lower back, he commenced what was for me a lesson on the boundaries of diplomacy and of politics. He said i was going to a incredibly stricken land at a highly incendiary time. “Ranil Wickremesinghe now Prime Minister of Sri Lanka met me the other day,” he pointed out, “and we spoke for greater than an hour. he’s a visionary… He desires to build a physical bridge from Rameswaram to Talai Mannar… I welcomed the concept and informed him that our personal Bharathiar Subramania Bharati had envisioned the very factor…palamaippom… however nowadays who goes to be crossing that bridge and in which course?” Then followed an evaluation of the ethnic issue on the island which for its crisp pragmatism could not had been equalled, let alone bettered.

“nobody knows Prabhakaran’s intellect,” he noted. “no one from our side is in contact with him… nobody may also be… We used to understand his deputies… Amirthalingam… Now they’re all useless… assassinated. however militancy is not any answer… Secession will under no circumstances be countenanced by means of Sri Lanka… and it will by no means receive up with the aid of Prabhakaran… We grope at nighttime.” and then doing a fast-forward: “Yet, we must hold trying for our Tamil family members’s urimai rights there.” The insights endured for some 10 greater minutes after which he rose to conclude the name, announcing, as if in a summing-up: “Prabhakaran will by no means have a change of heart.” As I thanked him and ready to depart, he gave the information I began this tribute with, very softly, “Jakkirathaiya irunga.”


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