New Delhi, Dec 6: Tamil Nadu’s 19th Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram succumbed to death on Monday. Her mortal remains were paid last tributes by politicians and common people at the Rajaji Hall today. Sasikala Natarajan, her closest aide, was at the forefront of Jayalalithaa’s funeral. Although it was earlier reported that Jayalalithaa would be cremated at Marina Beach at 4:30 PM, it was later revealed that the late AIADMK supremo would be buried. The decision to bury her came as a surprise as Jayalalithaa belongs to the Brahmin Iyengar community, which resorts to cremation in the aftermath of death.
Why Jayalalithaa was buried instead of being cremated
All the major icons of Tamil Nadu, including Maruthur Gopalan Ramachandran, CN Annadurai and even Periyar Ramasamy was buried instead of being cremated. The burial allows the followers of the political leaders to recall the legacy of their ideologues through memorials created at the place of burial. However, Jayalalithaa was expected to break the tradition as she was a believing Brahmin, who was often spotted with the Namam on her forehead. Despite being the leading Dravidian leader, she was not an atheist akin to those before her.
A senior state government functionary, while speaking to The Indian Express, dismissed the argument that Jayalalithaa should had been buried owing to her Brahmin Iyengar background. “She was beyond any caste or religious identity. 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,” she was quoted as saying.
Another possible reason why J Jayalalithaa was not cremated could emerge from the fact that there was no one from her blood relations to give fire to the pyre. The only one blood relative of Amma was Deepa Jayakumar, the daughter of Jayalalithaa’s deceased brother. Although Deepa returned from UK after learning about Amma’s ill-health in the past month, she was reportedly not allowed by Sasikala group to meet Jayalalithaa or interact with the media. Indian Express quoted a political analyst as saying, ” It is obvious that Sasikala clan doesn’t want to entertain Deepa anywhere near the funeral procession fearing a potential challenge.”