The last of the Dravidian leaders M Karunanidhi has left a will that his Gopalapuram house in Chennai his wife Dhayalu Ammal for her life time and thereafter it should be made into a charitable hospital to be run by a trust named after his parents Anjugam and Muthuvelar.
Karunanidhi left the will, duly registered on his 86th birthday in 2010 after getting consent in 2009 from his sons Azghagiri, Stalin and Tamizharasu. Former Union Minister A Raja and lyricist Vairamuthu are the trustees. Karunanidhi lived in this house since 1955 situated in a middle class locality in Chennai.
Though Dhayalu Ammal has inherited this house, she is in her late 80s and she has gone so senile that she did not even attend Karunanidhi’s funeral on Wednesday nor did she go to Rajaji Hall where the body lay in State. The last time she saw him was when his body was brought home from hospital on Tuesday night.
For a long time, Stalin stayed with Karunanidhi in a joint family while other sons moved into their homes. After he became mayor of Chennai, Stalin reluctantly moved to his own home in suburban Velacheri as the Gopalapuram house was not big enough to accommodate visitors of father and son. Later, Stalin moved into a posh bungalow in elitist Chittaranjan. Avenue where diplomats and other super rich live.
Though, Karunanidhi was Chief Minister for five times, he never sought official accommodation in the posh Greenways Road. His visible simplicity impressed the people though he had long ago become a multi-millionaire. The house was refurbished only recently.
His contemporary and late Chief Minister J Jayalalitha stayed in a bungalow bought by her mother Sandhya in 1971 in the posh Poes Garden area just across Gopalapuram. After Jayalalitha became Chief Minister 1991, she also chose to stay in her own house. However the locality was turned into a fortress as she was under Z Plus category security, and even residents like Rajanikanth were given identity cards.
The present AIADMK Government’s plan to turn Jayalalitha’s home into a memorial has run into weather as part of it, an extension made between 1991 and 96, has been listed as disproportionate asset by the Special Sessions Court in Bengaluru while convicting her in September 2014, a conviction upheld by the Supreme Court in March 2017 after her death.