Kalaignar Karunanidhi laid to rest at Marina Beach

Karunanidhi was buried today just as he lived — clad in a yellow scarf, wearing thick glasses, and surrounded by people who all but worshipped him.

Yellow wasn’t the only colour that envelopped his body; the red and black of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the party Karunanidhi led for decades, were there too.

So, too, were the hues of petals, offered at his feet with respect by family members.

This farewell, which unfolded in fading light near Chennai’s Anna memorial, was the one the DMK wanted — but yesterday, the Tamil Nadu government said Karunanidhi couldn’t be buried here.

Later, MK Stalin, now arguably the most powerful man in the DMK, broke down after the Madras High Court said his father could indeed have a memorial at Chennai’s Marina Beach.

Karunanidhi died last evening, aged 94. He served five terms as Tamil Nadu’s chief minister, and never lost an election to an assembly seat. He was the last great icon of the Dravidian movement.

Politics may have cemented Karunanidhi’s position in history, but it did not fully define him. He was a famous atheist, a screenwriter, and an accomplished man of letters who wrote a commentary on Tamil civilisation’s best-known verse: The Thirukkural.

As a distraught Stalin looked on, the lid of Karunanidhi’s casket was put in place just before 7 pm.

The Tamil inscription on the wood caught the light of shutters one last time before it descended: “Here rests the man who worked without taking rest.”

Inputs from Akshaya Nath, Lokpria Vasudevan and Shalini Lobo

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Updated: August 8, 2018 — 7:50 pm