It is quite typical of Tamil Nadu, reflective of its cultural connect with Kollywood that the Nadigar Sangam elections should occupy so much mind space and in the print/electronic media. And to think that the portals of the Madras High Court have been visited by one or the other side on so many occasions.
Honestly, one is unable to comprehend the how and why of it. Is it the democratic ethos of us Tamilians that breathes life into this issue?
What is it that captures the imagination so much that Justice Anand Venkatesh should be hearing the case on a Saturday, holiday, at 17.00 hrs, in his Kalakshetra Colony? Annie Besant and Rukmini Arundale cultural connect is surely alien to the cultural connect one can envisage in this construct.
It is quite unbelievable so much space being devoted to an election of a body registered under the Societies Registration Act. What is the control that the contestants are seeking for?
Is it the players that is catching our imagination and sucking us into following the going’s on with an avidness disproportionate to its sweep and impact?
It is almost akin to the Karnataka Assembly elections when B S Yeddyurappa took over as Chief Minister and Congress party challenged the control over the fixing of date for confidence vote before the Supreme Court and midnight hearing we had. Over a couple of days it was riveting headline stuff, impacting the government formation in Karnataka. Was it disproportionate too?
And at one level it even matches the Al Gore vs George Bush - Presidential elections in the US of A in 2000. The counting of votes in the State of Florida was taken to the courts and in a few days in a rarity, was picked up by the Supreme Court itself. And then Supreme Court affixed its imprimatur in a controversial verdict- arising from the submissions of two great Attorneys--Ted Olson for George Bush and David Boies for Al Gore. (As a sidelight, these two opposing counsel joined hands to fight for gay marriage rights in the Obergelef case and won it in the Supreme Court too).
Be that as it may, it is stunning that so much time and effort is being spent and it is holding the Tamilian audience in a continued thrall.
There is so much debate and discussion and space occupied in Media and the eyeballs are tiring from it. But why? What is it that fascinates the Tamilians that this should be happening?
Excuse me, the one and only reason is that the Tamilian is dedicated to the cause of cinema, idiot box serials and of course the political happenings. There is a magical mix of all these elements in the politics over Nadigar Sangam elections, and the chemistry is unbeatable. It is amazing that these gentlemen are fighting for their rights and welfare of those associated with cinema-that is all of us with so much passion and enthusiasm. And the sternness in the tussle has a near umbilical connect to Tamilian’s love for cinema and the performers on screen behind it too. Power to us for more of the same!
It would appear that we have so much time to devote over such causes which mean little to the lives of the ordinary citizen. Sorry, wrong number. The actors on celluloid are members of our family. When they contest on the ballot and in courts,
we too are contesting. We are fascinated by anything cinematic and how can we keep off when our heroes and heroines are fighting for hegemony over their Sangam affairs?
God knows when we Tamilians would get out of this cultural connect as if our life depends on it. And the advancement of the State hinges on the control over the Sangam. And it is curious that so much time is afforded and taken up for Nadigar Sangam elections in media that even the courts were sucked into it to offer holiday hearings.
Ladies and gentlemen, we should bow to the democratic ethos of us Tamilians that we believe in the election system and vesting the power on elected representatives. And add the tantalising glamour of Kollywood, it is a killer app as the present generate would tweet. As a wag said, ‘Tamil Nadu is unique for its rich cultural tradition and hoary heritage. Does one need to know that what we are witness to is display of this very heritage?’ May be. Surely, we are better than this. Or are we?
(Author is practising Advocate in the Madras High Court)