The nation was in utter shock and disbelief when it’s five times Chief Minister Jayalalitha was announced dead on the night of December 5,2016. Her death came as a shock wave which propelled millions of her followers to storm the premises of Apollo Hospital, Chennai and later Rajaji Hall, Chennai where her body was kept. This was followed by her burial at the Marina,Chennai near MGR’s memorial. The burial was attended by many and the last rites were performed by Sasikala and Jayalalitha’s nephew Deepak.
But many speculations arose after it was announced that Jayalalitha was buried instead of being cremated. While her communities norms speak about cremation after death she was chosen to be put to rest near MGR’s grave at the Marina. The reason would make you respect her more.
A senior government official has announced that Jayalalitha wasn’t an Iyengar for quite long. She believed that she was beyond caste or religion and never stressed upon her community’s beliefs. He further added that “Even most of all the Dravidian leaders, including Periyar, Anna Durai and MGR, were all buried and we do not have a precedent of consigning their body to flames even after death. So, we bury them with sandalwood and rose water.”
The burial of former leaders of the movement allowed followers to remember them in the form of a memorial.
Leaders of the Dravidian movement are atheists, who in principle denounce god and similar symbols. But it is interesting to note that the vacuum left by a disbelief in God is replaced by statues and memorials in the rational thoughts of Dravidians too. Fans and followers believe they can still hear the sound of MGR’s watch ticking at the leader’s memorial on Marina Beach.