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DMK president and former Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi, who passed away on Tuesday due to age-related illness, was laid to rest on Wednesday here as per the Dravidian traditions.

Like Dravidian stalwarts and former chief ministers CN Annadurai, MG Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa, Karunanidhi was buried, and not cremated as per the Hindu customs.

Dravidian Movement with its strong rationalist roots propagates that burial was the tradition followed by the ancient Tamils and they have nothing to do with Hindu customs of cremating the dead.

Dravidian ideologue and Dravida Iyakka Tamilar Peravai founder Suba Veerapandian said cremation of the deceased was an Aryan culture. “The worship of fire is the tradition of the Aryans. That is why fire is an integral part of the Aryan culture from marriage to death,” he said, adding that Dravidians have historically buried their dead.

“Tamil literature has several references of the burial of the dead. So as per the tradition, the Tamils should be buried after their death,” he said. Karunanidhi who followed the footsteps of Periyar and Annadurai was a rationalist and never missed an opportunity to criticise superstitious belief.

The tradition of burying Dravidian party leaders seems to have begun with late DMK founder C N Annadurai. A grand memorial was built at Marina Beach at the spot where he was buried. The Dravidian movement founder Periyar EVR Ramasamy was also buried after his death.

AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran who died while he was chief minister in December 1987 was also buried like his mentor Annadurai. Like Ramachandran, his successor J Jayalalithaa, who is a staunch believer, was buried according to the Dravidian traditions after following Tamil Iyengar rituals.

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