Shrine for Jayalalithaa by AIADMK cadres in Thanjavur

Bhagyalakshmi, (64), a cook, said that she got lot of benefits because of schemes introduced by Amma'.

THANJAVUR: Barely ten days after the demise of the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J. Jayalalithaa, deification of their late leader by the AIADMK cadres have begun in all earnest.

In a first of its kind a ‘shrine’ for ‘Amma’ has come up, though the concept of a temple or Gods and Goddesses have been an anathema for the rationalist Dravidian Movement, though parties manifesting that ideology have vied with one another to install statues for their respective leaders, be it late Periyar, C.N. Annadurai and now Jayalalithaa Jayaram.

It this comes as no surprise that a ‘temple’- though not in the strictly traditional form- has been built for J. Jayalalithaa, on West Main street at Thanjavur, as she was worshipped as Goddess even when she was alive. After death how can she be venerated without a temple?

The small ‘shrine’ near the famous Konganeswarar temple here is a tiny area measuring 130 sq ft, and bears the name in Tamil, “Puratchi Thalaivi Amma Aalayam”. It is the brainchild of M. Swaminathan, fomer whip of AIADMK party in the Thanjavur corporation.

The shrine displays her famous one-liner, “Makkalal Naan, Makkalukkakave Naan (I am of the people and for the people.)” “At present we have put up a portrait of ‘Amma’ along with the portraits of Anna and MGR. Soon a bronze bust will replace the portrait of ‘Amma’. We have called for quotations from three craftsmen from Swamimalai, famous for metal casting of ‘panchaloha vigrahas (bronze sculptures)’, to mould the bust. We will finalise one and the bust will be installed on February 24, birth day of Amma,” said Swaminathan.

On one side of the shrine are photos of Jayalalithaa from her childhood days. “As she (Jayalalithaa) was buried, people said that ‘homams’ should not be performed. So, as per the advice of some priests, we tied a cow with calf in the place on December 13” said Swaminathan.

People who pass through West main street, where the shrine is located, offer their worship to portraits of ‘Amma’ at the ‘temple’. Arukkani, (68) a construction worker, was seen folding her hands and offering worship to the portrait of Jayalalithaa on Wednesday. She said that she is a construction worker and fond of ‘Amma’.

Bhagyalakshmi, (64), a cook, said that she got lot of benefits because of schemes introduced by ‘Amma’. “Nobody can be like her,” she said after offering worship at the shrine. Songs from MGR and Jayalalithaa films are played there. “This will be continuously broadcast round the clock when once the shrine is fully functional,” said Swaminathan.

“Chinnapayale, Chinnapayale Sethi Kelada” (Pattukottai Kalyanasundaram’s song from a MGR film) and “Vaangaiyah Vathiyaraiah” from another film were the songs played when this reporter visited the shrine on Wednesday.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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