by M.K. Eelaventhan, January 17, 2018
Member of Parliament of Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam. Former Member of Parliament, Sri Lanka
Rajiniikanth born in Karnataka State, India on December 12, 1950 and named as Sivaji Rao Gaekaward by his parents with Marathi as his mother tongue is a popular screen hero in Tamil Nadu with fans worldwide. He failed his SSLC [10th Std] examination and dropped out of school, but found his openings in theaters and drama. He also worked as a bus conductor before his entry into the screen world.
Late cinema Director K. Balachandar introduced him to the Tamil cinema when he was featured as a supporting actor in the film “Apporva Ragangal” with Kamal Hasan playing the lead role. From then on in cinema, he reached great heights. He moulded a distinct role for himself exhibiting punch dialogues, mannerisms and idiosyncrasies which captivated the young cinema audience and also triggered box office successes for many of his films bringing millions [crores] of rupees to his coffer. It is estimated that from 2012 to 2016, he earned a total of approximately 315 crores and his present wealth is estimated to be about 360 crores besides his properties. Annual income is estimated to be about 55 crores
Rajinikanth has been on and off brushing shoulders with politicians, often making short but no explicit statements as to his open support to any political party. His flirting with Bharadya Janata Party [BJP] is well known due to his occasional meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This is understandable due to the Hindu religious sentiments possessed by both.
After a long period of hesitancy and deciding that an opportune time has come in Tamil Nadu due to the divisions and lack of charismatic leadership in AIADMK and DMK [The two major political parties in Tamil Nadu], he has declared his entry into politics at the ripe age of 67, like fishing in troubled waters.
Hailing from Karnataka state with no secondary education, who later studied Tamil Language to strengthen his film career, Rajinikanth has been pampered and propped up by the Tamil film industry as a money spinner. His masterful art of manipulating his legs and hands mesmerised the ordinary Tamil fans whose main and only recreation is cinema.
With nil political experience, is Rajinikanth sufficiently worth or qualified to become the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu? The answer is undoubtedly no due to the following reasons:
- He has never identified nor involved with any Tamil political party so far, not to mention the Tamils as a whole except with his fans to boost his image
- His entry into politics at the ripe age of almost 70 would not be either constructive or productive, even though Tamil Nadu politics has been dominated and decided by persons involved in Tamil cinema industry, many entered politics at their youthful ages. Karunanethi [Former CM of Tamil Nadu] entered politics from Thruvarur in late thirties and was one of the founders of DMK in the 1960s and was actively involved with campaigns against Hindi while contributing to the growth of Tamil culture, language and cinema. Tamils and Dravia movement earned the worldwide recognition due to C.N. Annadurai and DMK.
Late M.G. Ramachandran [popularly known as MGR & ‘Purachi Thalivar’] entered into politics while he was in his thirties. He stood side by side with Annadurai, Karunanithi and was instrumental in the growth and popularity of DMK in the nooks and corner of Tamil Nadu until the split in 1977 when he formed his own party ADMK and served as Chief Minister for 10 years until his death in 1987. He stood firm for the causes of Tamils in Tamil Nadu as well as for the Tamils in the neighbouring Sri Lanka.
Late Jayalalitha commenced her political life in 1981 joining hands with MGR and functioned as Chief Minister five times until her death in 2017. She was bold enough and passed many state resolutions in support of the Sri Lankan Tamils including a resolution calling on the Government of India to impose economic sanctions against Sri Lanka.
Andrara Pradesh N. T. Rama Rao too a cinema actor entered politics at the age of 59 and was fully involved in politics fighting the Congress party until his early death in 1996.
Above all, the above leaders also groomed someone to succeed them. On the contrary Rajinikanth is considering himself as the sole savior and custodian of Tamil Nadu and as a redeemer and protector of 65 million Tamils. However political power and mechanisms of rule can never be handled by depending on cinema fans chorus and their affection and craze. They are good for the success of films only and never be helpful to handle the complex rumble and tumble art of ruling and solving knotty local and national issues with manipulations and manoeuvrings.
Rajinikanth is telling the people that the reasons for his late entry into politics include “cleaning the “system”, and running a government with honesty, integrity and clean politics with spiritualism. So far he has not explained the meaning of “system’. Is it to overhaul the democratic system, the election system or the ruling system? No one knows unless and until it is explained by Rajinikanth. It has to be stated here that his wife Latha recently faced a law suit for failing to pay income tax and rent arrears resulting from increase of rent for the premises where she was running the “ashram’ school for more than 20 years. The court has ordered her to vacate the premises and suggested her to get it back in an auction.
It is alleged that Rajinikanth has failed to fulfil his promise to donate one crore rupees made in 2002 as his contribution to “Rivers Integration” scheme in India, which was mooted as a solution to the river sharing disputes in December 1991 between states, particularly during the Kaveri river dispute. So much so to prove the honesty and commitments of people who preach honesty and integrity?
Above all, one has to closely examine Rajini’s contribution, involvement, participation and identification with the many issues which were confronted by the Tamil Nadu during the past and during the period when thousands of Tamils were massacred in Sri Lanka. His responses and reactions to these issues were obnoxious silence and/or implicit endorsements of those events.
- When Tamils from Bangalore were killed and forced to flee during the Kaveri River protests in 2007, Rajini kept silent for reasons best known to him.
- When the floods were consuming Chennai and other cities, he failed to respond adequately with funds when other cinema personalities generously contributed in crores of rupees.
He also organized his own protest during Kaveri river dispute thus avoiding the Tamil Nadu Actors Union ‘Nadigar Sangam’ protests, obviously not to offend the Karnataka State Government and fans. This was described as ‘traitorous’ by Tamil Nadu Nadigar Sangam and Tamil Nadu people.
Above all, his ominous silence during the Sri Lanka’s genocidal war, not even a word of sympathy or protest exposed his depth and level of sincerity and love for the Tamils. Adding insult to injury when one journalist asked him the following question after a public meeting “What is your opinion about Mullivakkal killings” he promptly cut him short by saying that “do not ask political question?” This answer has exposed his betrayal of Tamils as well as his inability and ignorance to handle a matter politically or sensibly. One can now guess the depth of his knowledge and skills to tackle political issues and knotty situations besides his sincerity to the feeling of Tamils. His deliberate silence on Katchaitivu islet and “Sethu Samudram” issues is another matter which has to be noted with concern.
It is no surprise that his entry into politics was warmly welcomed by Namal Rajapaksha [son of former President of Sri Lanka] who said:”Rajini is my father’s favourite hero and will do good things”, expecting support for Sri Lankan Governments.
Besides, there is lurking suspicion that Rajini is being touted as the declared agent for BJP which is bent on establishing solid bases and planting its foothold in Tamil Nadu.
About spiritualism, Gandhi once remarked “His relationship with God is a personal matter between God and me and no one can question me regarding this matter”. Accordingly god and spiritualism can be considered as a source of strength but never be as a source for tackling and/or making suitable political decisions. Rajini’s politics of spiritualism appears to be involving religions with politics as he appears to be forming a party with spiritual symbol, but without any manifesto, political agenda, problem solving proposals, party organization, structure and working, executive or advisory committee.
It is hoped that Tamil Nadu a state with 65 million Tamils who are the ancient inhabitants of India with Tamil as one of the oldest languages of the world, will live up to be true and proud Tamilian and not falling for the empty punch dialogues and rhetoric of a Kannada cinema actor who has no record of achievements for Tamils of Tamil Nadu or Tamils outside India.
In conclusion, it has to be stated that politics is an art of governance while spiritualism is entwined with religious sentiments. Spiritualism is a source to conduct his own life in a better way which is also optional and personal to each one’s choice. Politics and spiritualism is like water and oil which can never mixed. Politics is learnt from history and knowledge of past and present issues, while spiritualism is meant for students and people who yearn to know and embrace it as soul cleansing.
Above all fame and money can never be substituted, considered or used as the keys for entry into politics and leadership.
If by chance Rajinikanth wins, the redemption for Tamil Nadu state can only come from “ALMIGHTY GOD’
What Tamil Nadu needs is a person sincerely and honestly devoted to the causes of Tamils, their language and culture and not a pseudo.