A sea of people and a tsunami of emotions at Anna Memorial

The poignant scenes and emotional moments witnessed during the funeral of DMK chief M. Karunanidhi at Anna Memorial here on Wednesday evening brought to the fore yet again the love, affection and respect the five-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu commanded among his family members, long-time friends, leaders of various political parties, and above all, his beloved brethren (udanpirappukkal).

The cortege carrying the mortal remains of the DMK leader waded through a sea of followers and passed by the statue of his political mentor and DMK founder C.N. Annadurai on Anna Salai before entering the burial site at 6 p.m. The late leader’s son and DMK working president M.K. Stalin and his daughter and Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi — who received the VVIPs all through the day at Rajaji Hall — had by then reached the site.

With all his relatives, including Karunanidhi’s wife Rajathi Ammal, sons M.K. Alagiri, M.K. Tamilarasu, daughter M.K. Selvi, nephews, nieces and grandchildren waiting, the casket was lowered from the vehicle. Armed forces personnel then handed over the national flag that was draped over the body of the late DMK leader to an emotional Mr. Stalin. Soon after the mortal remains were shifted to a specially-made coffin with the words ‘Herein rests a man who worked tirelessly’. Dignitaries and family members paid their last respects.

Moving scenes

A visibly distraught Ms. Kanimozhi was in tears, as she stood close to the coffin to take a look at her father’s face one last time. Her son Aditya was seen pinning his granddad’s favourite pen to the latter’s shirt.

Karunanidhi’s elder daughter Selvi was inconsolable for a long while, and so were her brothers Mr. Stalin and Mr. Alagiri and many other family members. The crowd, which had gathered at the burial site, was equally moved when Karunanidhi’s long-time friend and DMK General Secretary K. Anbalagan walked towards the coffin with his walking stick to pay his last respects.

The family members later sprinkled salt on the casket as part of a ritual after which the coffin was closed. Amid the gun salute by the armed forces personnel and with family members, friends, leaders and party cadre by the side, the mortal remains of Karunanidhi were lowered into the pit.

Some family members later threw sand on the coffin in the pit in another ritual.

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