May 11, 2007
Chennai, Tamil Nadu

PM's speech at the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of Kalaignar Karunanidhi as a Legislator

We are celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Kalaignar Dr. Karunanidhiji's membership of the Tamil Nadu legislature. His services to Tamil Nadu, to the Tamil people and to the entire nation are indeed truly remarkable and are difficult to rival. He has been one of the pillars of our national polity, a great patriot, a great nation builder. I have come here to wish him a long, healthy and fruitful life for many many years to come.

We are celebrating today two different anniversaries. It is 50 years since Dr. Karunanidhi became a Member of the Tamil Nadu Assembly. However, it is almost 70 years since he entered public life. At the tender age of 14, when most young boys are happy playing games, Dr. Karunanidhiji joined politics to start the Tamil Manavar Mandram. From 1946, when he designed the flag of Dravida Kazhagam along with Periyar, till today Dr. Kalaignar has held high the flag of Tamil Nadu, as a proud Indian.

When we look at the progress of our country in the last 60 years, this great state of Tamil Nadu stands out as one of the most developed and progressive states of our union. The foundations of Tamil Nadu's development were laid by such great leaders of this State as Rajaji, Shri K. Kamaraj, Shri Annadurai and Dr. Karunanidhi. History will record that Kalaignar Dr. Karunanidhi was a shining star in this great galaxy of statesmen.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As Chief Minister for more than 15 years , Dr. Kalaignar gave leadership to the industrial development of Tamil Nadu. Today, Tamil Nadu is called the Detroit of India. You have a vibrant automobile industry, you have a vibrant textiles and leather industry, you have a vibrant IT industry. Tamil Nadu is at the forefront of India's knowledge economy and a good deal of credit for this goes to the leadership of Dr. Karunanidhi.

I pay tribute to the leadership of Dr. Karunanidhi not just for his contribution to the industrial development of this great State. He has played an extremely important role, indeed a pioneering role along with Thiru Annadurai and Thiru Kamaraj in the social and educational development of the Tamil people. He has contributed to the empowerment of women and to the welfare of farmers, in a massive way.

Thiru Karunanidhi has been living simultaneously in the world of art, literature and politics. He is a great poet and a great writer. As Founder Editor of Murasoli he endeared himself to his readers. His modern rendering of the ancient Sangam literature has brought this great literature into each household in Tamil Nadu. He has been both a popular journalist and a cartoonist and a great script writer. It is this multifaceted nature of his personality that makes him a truly great leader of our people.

Kalaignar, I greet you Sir ' I greet you for your patriotism. I greet you for your commitment to the welfare of the poor. I greet you for your commitment to the empowerment of women. I greet you for your commitment to the revival and development of the great Tamil language, a classical language of India from ancient times. I greet you, sir, for your commitment to the all round development of Tamil Nadu. I greet you for your compassion and your humanism. I greet you for your commitment to the unity, integrity and progress of our nation. Sir, I am sure that under your leadership, Tamil Nadu will go from strength to strength. I would like to see the people of Tamil Nadu reach even greater heights of success and well being, in years to come.

The Tamil people have contributed immensely to the cultural, intellectual, social, political and economic development of India. They have excelled themselves in many and diverse fields. Some of our greatest scientists, some of our greatest mathematicians, some of our greatest social scientists, some of our greatest doctors and engineers, bankers and business leaders have come from this great State. This is the home of so many accomplished people who have contributed to making us a great nation. Our hearts fill with pride at the accomplishments and achievements of the people of Tamil Nadu.

I am therefore, truly delighted and happy to be here today in this great city. As I said before it gives me even greater pleasure that I am here to felicitate a great son of Tamil Nadu Dr. Kalignar Karunanidhiji. Sir, in your address today, you have referred to a number of problems, which remain to be resolved. These include problem of equitable sharing of waters, problems of reservation for women in legislatures, reservation for backward classes in various institutions of learning. I am confident that with the cooperation of all members of the United Progressive Alliance, we will be able to find practical, pragmatic and just solutions to these difficult problems. Sir, with these words, Dr. Karunanidhi I once again wish you a long life, a still more fruitful life. Tamil Nadu needs you. India needs you. We all need you to guide us as we march forward. Long live Dr. Kalaignar Karunanidhi.

Thank you.