Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa will be laid to rest at Chennai’s Marina Beach, just like her mentor MG Ramachandran (MGR).
The 68-year-old leader, popularly known as Amma, would be buried next to MGR’s memorial.
There are two explanations for the AIADMK’s decision to bury Jayalalithaa, and not cremate her, despite the 68-year-old leader being a practising Iyengar.
One, the Dravid politics that Jayalalithaa dominated for nearly three decades is inherently atheistic. All major Dravid leaders, like Periyar, Annadurai and MGR were all buried.
Two, you need a blood relative to perform the cremation ritual. Since Jayalalithaa’s close aide Sasikala, who has been monitoring her final rites, does not want any family member around, it was decided that Amma should be buried.
President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and a number of Chief Ministers and VVIPs from various states are attending the state funeral.
An estimate says more than 10 lakh people have gathered at Marina Beach to have a last glimpse of their leader as Jayalalithaa’s body was carried in a sandalwood casket on a gun carriage.
The government today declared a one-day state mourning across the country in view of Jayalalithaa’s demise. The national flag will fly at half-mast in all state capitals including capital New Delhi.