We knew that ex TN CM Jayalalithaa’s guilty verdict would have political and social fallouts, but not how extreme the reactions from devotees would be

JAYA1 2142209g The Grand Southern Tradition of Worshipping Actors & Politicians, Committing Suicide for Them

  1. We always knew that if J Jayalalithaa was found guilty for charges of corruption in the disproportionate assets case against her, there would be not just a political, but social fallout of this. But perhaps we hadn’t envisaged how extreme the reactions would be from the many devotees of Tamil Nadu’s ex Chief Minister.
  2. JAYA18 2142298g The Grand Southern Tradition of Worshipping Actors & Politicians, Committing Suicide for ThemThere is a tradition of making grand and dramatic gestures for stars in the South – from building temples to shaving heads, from public prayers to public lamentations and even suicide attempts in full public view. So far we have seen suicides (at least 16 suicides by various means such as self immolation, hanging and even cases of spontaneous death from cardiac arrest and shock have been reported), heads being shaved, food being consumed straight off the ground and public beating of chests, rolling on the ground and other overt forms of mass hysteria in response to a corrupt megalomaniac getting her just desserts.
  3. JAYA2 2142300g The Grand Southern Tradition of Worshipping Actors & Politicians, Committing Suicide for ThemThere have also been silent fasts, a milk pot procession from Sri Subramanya Swamy temple to Sri Brahadeeswarar temple in Thanjavur, road roko by rolling on the ground in Chennai, a unique behind-the-bars protest, prayers and protests at various locations.
  4. keep kauvery give amma The Grand Southern Tradition of Worshipping Actors & Politicians, Committing Suicide for ThemCan a mortal punish God” asks one hoarding in Tamil Nadu. “Can God be at the mercy of a human being for bail?” asked a Facebook post. “You keep Cauvery [waters] with you. Give me Amma,” is the translation of a hoarding featuring a crying baby supposedly yearning for ‘Amma’ to return home.
  5. maya The Grand Southern Tradition of Worshipping Actors & Politicians, Committing Suicide for ThemKollywood actress Maya, a Congress cadre along with her daughter Gunapriya, arrived at the commissioner’s office in Vepery, Chennai nattily dressed in matching checked saris. They were carrying kerosene cans and threatened to immolate themselves as and by way of protest against the guilty verdict pronounced against J Jayalalithaa. “I have decided to end my and my daughter’s lives for the sake of Jayalalithaa,” announced Maya. (Source – Times of India)
  6. If Maya had really meant to commit suicide, she would have just gotten on with the business of dying rather than grandstanding before a bunch of people she knew were duty bound to stop her. So Maya’s gesture may only have been that – a gesture, but this is of a piece with the drama and the devotion with the common junta regards top politicians and film stars in the South.
  7. Previously, Amma devotee T Ravindran reportedly found a novel way to demonstrate his devotion – he declared himself dead and proceeded to undergo cremation rites in order that his leader may enjoy prosperity. (Source – IBN Live)
  8. Another shining example is the deep and abiding devotion that people have for superstar Rajinikanth – not only is there is a properly consecrated temple devoted to the superstar, all of 1008 men shaved their heads in a gesture of dedicated devotion. Actresses such as Khushboo and Namitha also have temples devoted to them; clearly cinema is a sacred religion in parts of our country.Rajnikanth Devotees pouring milk The Grand Southern Tradition of Worshipping Actors & Politicians, Committing Suicide for Them
  9. At some point the superstars of celluloid and politics became inextricably intertwined in Tamil Nadu – the beginning point perhaps being the movie scripts of C N Annadurai that promoted social reform of underprivileged sections of society. The cult following of personalities such as Sivaji Ganesan, S. S. Rajendran, Jayalalithaa’s mentor and costar M. G. Ramachandran cemented this cleaving together of celluloid and politics in the public consciousness. And this is why any time that a cinema superstar or a political superstar is threatened in any manner, public outcry is not just highly visible and dramatic, but also frequently suicidal.Sivaji Ganesan The Grand Southern Tradition of Worshipping Actors & Politicians, Committing Suicide for Them

 

 

 

Sivaji Images 1-3 Source – The Hindu, Image 4 source – The Hindu, Image 5 Source – The Times

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