Jayalalithaa buried, not cremated

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Chennai: Former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa’s mortal remains were buried and not cremated next to the grave of MG Ramachandran. It was a decision of the AIADMK, based, reportedly, on the belief that the act would strengthen the party’s roots in Dravidian politics.

The organisers of the funeral had laid a red carpet around the area that had been dug up to serve as Jayalalithaa’s grave. Some gold was placed in her coffin, made of sandalwood, which was lowered into the grave after sunset.

Jayalalithaa’s aide and confidante Sasikala Natarajan performed the last rites along with nephew Deepak Jayakumar (son of Jayalalithaa’s brother Jayakumar).

As the coffin was lowered into the grave, flowers and pieces of sandalwood were showered upon it.

The grave witnessed VIPs all around, with commoners filling the streets, pavements, parks and fields around the venue to a radius of miles. Some had arrived for the occasion walking miles from their homes. Throughout the rituals, many women wailed, beating their chests, lamenting the passing away of their favourite leader as chants of “Amma vazhga” (long live Amma) reverberated in the skies.

Jayalalithaa reportedly did not enjoy a cordial relationship with her brother’s family. Sources in AIADMK told सिर्फ़ News that a fully Iyengar-Brahmin ritual could have made Deepak Jayakumar an inheritor of Jayalalithaa’s properties.

It is being said that Jayalalithaa had expressed a wish long ago that she be laid to rest next to her mentor MG Ramachandran, but she had not willed it.

Burial is not new in Dravidian culture, but Iyengars and Iyers do not bury their dead unless the dead was too young to have developed an attachment to this world, from which, Hindu spirituality dictates, one is set free by the process of cremation. An exception is made for saints, too, as they are believed to have detached themselves from worldliness during their lifetime.

Jayaram Jayalalithaa was an Iyengar Brahmin by virtue of both her paternal and maternal lineage. It was once rumoured that she was a Wadiyar, which is not true. Her paternal grandfather Narasimhan Rengachary had merely served in the kingdom of Maharaja Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV of Mysore. Jayalalithaa’s maternal grandfather was Rangasamy Iyengar.