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Writer-politician Muthuvel Karunanidhi is amongst the most important political figures India has ever seen. He was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu for five terms and leader of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) for over five decades. Still remembered for his fruitful career as a regional leader who helped in the formation of various coalition governments at Delhi, his contribution to Tamil history and culture has been invaluable.
This episode of BIC Talks is about the meticulously researched and deeply engrossing book, Karunanidhi: A Life that delves into the life and times of this unforgettable man. This conversation with author AS Panneerselvan and journalist Rohini Mohan explores how Karunanidhi became a sort of metaphor of modern Tamil Nadu, where language, empowerment, self-respect, art and literary forms and films coalesce to lend a unique vibrancy to politics.
AS Panneerselvan is the Readers’ Editor of The Hindu, an independent internal news ombudsman functioning with clearly formulated Terms of Reference. Apart from being a regular columnist, he is also a journalism teacher and is an adjunct faculty of the prestigious Asian College of Journalism, Chennai.
With wide experience in both print and television journalism, he is the executive director of the regional media development organisation Panos South Asia since 2004. He is a board member of the Organisation of News Ombudsmen and Standards Editor representing Asia. He was the vice-chair and the steering committee member of the Global Forum for Media Development, and an advisory panel member of the Knight International Journalism Fellowship programme administered by ICFJ.
He is a member of the governing board of K M Adimoolam Foundation for Arts in Chennai. He was a fellow of Reuters Journalism Fellowship programme in University of Oxford in 1998. Panneerselvan has lectured widely in the US and in Europe, both on politics as well as on media pluralism.
Rohini Mohan is a Bangalore-based independent journalist writing on human rights and politics. She has written for publications including The New York Times, Harper’s, Time, The Hindu, Economic Times, Foreign Policy, The Caravan and Huffington Post. She is the author of The Seasons of Trouble: Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka’s Civil War.