Friday, Jun 21, 2024 | Last Update : 08:02 AM IST

  India   All India  07 Dec 2016  Why Jayalalithaa was buried, not cremated

Why Jayalalithaa was buried, not cremated

THE ASIAN AGE. | R MOHAN
Published : Dec 7, 2016, 2:52 am IST
Updated : Dec 7, 2016, 6:44 am IST

Political circles were agog with whispers about the Jayalalithaa’s burial being against traditions.

Crowd of supporters at the funeral procession of Tamil Nadu’s former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa in Chennai on Tuesday. (Photo: PTI)
 Crowd of supporters at the funeral procession of Tamil Nadu’s former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa in Chennai on Tuesday. (Photo: PTI)

Chennai: Eyebrows were raised at the fact that J. Jayalaithaa, born to Brahmin parents, was buried rather than cremated. Cremation is more a custom with the Brahmin community although there are exceptions as in those taking the austerity vow like sanyasis being buried rather than burnt at the pyre.

While political circles were agog with whispers about the CM’s burial being against traditions and if the ruling party was trying to cash in on burial as a way of keeping the mortal remains in a memorial to perpetuate the image of an iconic Chief Minister, facts suggest it was a party decision that was also backed up a religious traditions with the ceremony itself marked by Brahmin as well as Thevar rituals..

Jaya’s AIADMK, now missing its most charismatic leader in the class of founder MGR, wished to preserve her body as a symbol of her magnetic properties inside the MGR memorial in order to ensure that the crowds of party loyalists would continue to stream in to pay respects and the AIADMK hold on the rural masses would stay intact. Also, to facilitate this, separate environmental and CRZ clearances were not required, nor would they have to seek permission to hold a cremation on Marina Beach. In that sense, this was a practical party decision. Crowds of loyalists still pour into the MGR memorial and many even place their ear on the mausoleum to check if his watch is still ticking. In such personality-driven Dravidian politics that depended on the leader’s charisma, the AIADMK may have concluded that Jaya’s body in MGR’s memorial would create the dual magic that might otherwise go missing after her demise.

It was for religious reasons that Deepak Jayaraj, a nephew of Jayalalithaa, was made part of the last rites. Also, a particular religious figure was said to have prepared the body for its last journey in Poes Garden in the small hours of Monday in the strictest of Brahmin orthodoxy in following funeral rites and wrapping it in a green sari, etc.

The combination of rituals may have been aimed to please the Gods, but it certainly put paid to theories about rationalist influence in the glorious last journey of a demigod of Tamil Nadu politics, who was a firm believer.

Tags: jayalalithaa dead
Location: India, Tamil Nadu, Chennai (Madras)