DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, who joined Periyar E V Ramasamy’s social justice platform when he was a teenager, had in 2010, donated his residence at posh Gopalapuram locality in Chennai for setting up a hospital for the poor. He died at the age of 94 Tuesday.
A titan of contemporary Indian history, Karunanidhi had, on the eve of his 86th birthday, signed the gift deed donating the house to Annai Anjugam Trust (named after his mother) to run the hospital after his and his wife’s lifetime. He had registered the house in the name of his sons Alagiri, Stalin and Tamilarasu, in 1968. After getting their consent in 2009, Karunanidhi had gifted it to the trust.
It was announced that the hospital would be named Kalaignar Karunanidhi Hospital. Former union minister A Raja and noted Tamil lyricist Vairamuthu are among members of the Trust.
Karunanidhi had expressed his desire to gift the house, where he had lived for over five decades since 1955, at a launch function.
The DMK supremo effectively worked towards making the administration more representative of the state’s social composition and, most importantly, to improve delivery of public services and goods. The building of an extensive public transport system, a strong government school network, ration shops and so on were instrumental in turning Tamil Nadu into an industrial powerhouse which scored high on health and social indicators. Karunanidhi favoured policy interventions and delivery to disbursing patronage and freebies.