"Can I Call You Appa One Last Time": A Son's Moving Poem For Karunanidhi


CHENNAI:MK Stalin has written a moving poem for his father M Karunanidhi, who he, like the rest of Tamil Nadu, had referred to him as Kalaignar, or scholar, for most of his life. Mr Stalin wrote the poem as a tribute to his father, "For once, shall I call you father, my leader?"

Mr Stalin recalled Mr Karunanidhi's statement three decades back when he had dictated his epitaph: "The one who worked with no rest, rests here".

"Have you left with the sense fulfilment that you've done enough for the Tamil community," he asked.

The poem is seen as a reflection of Mr Stalin's effort to personalise the loss of the 94-year-old charismatic leader, the last of Tamil Nadu's politicians with a colossal mass following. Karunanidhi, who won a dozen elections in his life and never lost a single one, wrote reams of poems, lyrics and books and was a prolific screenwriter for the Tamil film industry.

His death leaves a huge vacuum not just in the state's politics, but also at home. In the poem, Mr Stalin talks about his death, complaining why he hadn't let them know this one time where he was headed.

Kanimozhi, the youngest child of DMK chief M Karunanidhi, has been seen as the literary and cultural heir of the DMK chief.

But it is Mr Stalin, who was picked as his political heir back in 2013 but had been confined to an orbit that has not included the party's top job. Ahead of the 2016 assembly elections, Karunanidhi told NDTV that he would become the chief minister for the sixth time if his party won the election.

"Stalin can become Chief Minister only if nature does something to me," Karunanidhi said of his son, who had led the election campaign.

Mr Karunanidhi's older son, MK Alagiri, was expelled in March 2014 from the DMK for working against Mr Stalin, who has served in the past as Deputy Chief Minister for their father.