M Karunanidhi is fondly known as Kalaignar (artiste) in Tamil Nadu. A popular artiste will always carry a signature style. The DMK chief did that with his trademark yellow shawl and dark spectacles.

The politicians of the State are, as such, noted for their unique way of dressing -- be it AIADMK founder MGR’s hat or late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s green sari.

But Karunanidhi’s glasses will always remain etched in public memory. One often wondered why he had been wearing those black-tinted goggles for nearly 40 long years.

Rewind to the mid-1960s, Karunanidhi was among the few skilled Tamil orators rising to stardom in the political theatre of Tamil Nadu. He was actively involved in anti-Hindi agitations back then. During one such protest, Karunanidhi was caught in the crosshairs of a clash between the agitators and policemen when he lost an eye. He underwent a surgery but lost the vision in that eye.

To cover this damaged eye in the dark, he began wearing those dark spectacles. Sources say that, recently, he decided to change those glasses to wear a lighter shade and frame. Special pairs were ordered from abroad. But he unfortunately couldn’t try the new glasses for long.

And now, the DMK patriarch is resting there at Rajaji Hall in Chennai. Time to see those goggles showcased in a museum.