Periyar E V Ramasamy must be turning in his grave. For, DMK president M Karunanidhi, who made rationalism the cornerstone of his politics had no compunctions in avoiding the inauspicious Raahu Kaalam while inaugurating his party’s 10th State conference here on Saturday.
The inaugural was scheduled for 9 am, but Raahu Kaalam was between 9 am and 10.30 am. Karunanidhi sidestepped it by arriving at the venue — ironically named Periyar Thidal — well past 10.30 am. He unfurled the party flag on a 90-ft pole 10 minutes later to mark the inauguration of the conference.
If you think this was coincidence, perish the thought. “We will bring Thalaivar to the stage after 10.30 am as we want to avoid Raahu Kaalam,” local heavyweight K N Nehru had informed the women’s wing on January 20.
While Karunanidhi likes to call himself an agnostic, his son and heir apparent M K Stalin is a believer. So, it was not a big deal when on January 6, Stalin skipped the ‘inauspicious time’ while opening the conference office. Though he reached the venue around 11 am, Nehru requested him to wait till 12 noon for Yamagandam to end. Stalin complied.
This is not the first time Karunanidhi has let his rationalist mask slip. During the millennium fete of the Brahadeeswara temple, he chose to enter the temple through a side gate because of the myth that netas visiting the 10th century Big Temple through the main gate would either lose their life or power. Then there was the visit of Sai Baba of Puttaparthy to Karunanidhi’s residence, where Kanimozhi’s mother Rajathi touched the Baba’s feet in obeisance.