– TS Venkatesan
In Tamil Nadu, like PM Modi superstar Rajinikanth is keenly watched by his opponents for his actions, speeches only to find one or the other fault. Because they fear if he plunges into politics it would queer their pitch and dreams of ruling the State after demise of the AIADMK Supremo Jayalalithaa and former CM M Karuanidhi of DMK. These parties have now Modi and Rajini phobia.
Rajinikanth recently took part in the 50th anniversary celebrations of Thuglak, a Tamil language weekly news magazine known for its political satire and parodies started by actor turned political commentator Cho Ramaswamy. Highlighting the significance of Thuglak weekly, he said that Cho has created a whole “breed” of people with his magazine.
“News that is true is like milk and when they mix lies in it like water, people may not know the difference between truth and lies. In today’s time, it is very important for us to have a journalists of Cho Ramasamy’s genre. Cho was a virulent critic of Indira Gandhi and DMK. When Emergency was promulgated, he brought out a dark cover to register his protest. She was another one who made Cho popular all over the country.”, he said.
On DMK and Periyar
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, Superstar Rajinikanth and Thuglak editor Gurumurthy launch the 50th anniversay issue of the magazine.
Rajinikanth said media houses have a big responsibility. Some news channels are affiliated to certain parties, and so they write about them even if they do good or bad. But the media houses that call themselves neutral, should give the people the truth. If someone is reading Murasoli, the mouthpiece of DMK he could be a DMK cadre. If someone was seen carrying Thuglak, he can be intelligent or intellectual.
“Periyar was a pungent critic of Hindu gods. But no one had criticised Periyar then. It was only Cho (Ramaswamy) who took on Periyar, which was not to the liking of Karunanidhi. Cho had incurred the wrath of Karunanidhi who opposed him so much. He even once said Karunanidhi had given him free publicity, making him popular across the country,” said Ranji in his speech.
He also narrated how Periyar had taken out a procession of Hindu gods in 1971 in a derogatory manner and had people throw chappals at them.
Spooked DMK files complaint
Finding fault with Rajinikanth for dragging the name of Periyar in his speech, DMK, MDMK and other fringe parties sought his apologies. Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam filed three complaints against Rajinikanth for ‘spreading false information’ about Periyar.
Periyar with DMK leaders CN Annadurai, M Karunanidhi, MGR (before split) and others
They were specifically angered at Rajini’s comments of Periyar taking out a procession of Hindu gods in an offensive manner. Joining issue with him, the DMK party organ ‘Murasoli’ has described people carrying Murasoli as ‘humans’ who ‘march on the path laid out by Periyar, Anna and Karunanidhi to create a new world’.
No question of Apology
Rajinikanth has said there is no question of apologizing for his remarks as it was based on media reports. No need to precipitate it forget and see what next.
Talking to media in Chennai, Rajnikanth said “The magazine had reported that Ramar and Sita were paraded naked and garlanded with slippers in Periyar’s rally in 1971 in Salem. I have not said something that did not happen. I have not imagined it. One of the protesters in Salem called Lakshmana has confirmed it. So, I will not apologize or express regret”.
The Illustrated Weekly of India had reported Periyar’s anti-Hindu rally in 1971
He said that he had only repeated what had been reported in the magazines. Periyar’s rally must be forgotten, not denied he stressed. To support his claim, he shared the clippings of a 2017 report in an English magazine mentioning Periyar’s 1971 rally with reporters.
Truth about Rajiji’s rally comment
Journalist Rangaraj Pande in a video comment on Chanakya TV confirmed that what Rajini Kanth said about the derogatory procession of Hindu gods was true.
“What he had quoted was true and Periyar did take out a procession of images of Ram, Lakshman and Sita and hit them with chappals. The present Dravidar Kazhagam leader K Veeramani had accepted it as true in another meeting.” he said.
“If they could make derogatory comments on Hindu gods, and culture, depict nude pictures in the name of freedom of expression, can’t the same apply to Rajini Kanth and others?. If the Dravidar Kazhagam is secular what was the need for parading Hindu gods only and attack them with shoes? Is not a selective secularism?”, questioned Rangaraj.
Subramanian Swamy, a usual critic of Rajinikanth has come out in his support. Swamy tweeted that what the actor stated was a fact and EVR Naicker (Periyar) did conduct a rally parading Ram and Sita in a derogatory manner. This was also reported in Thuglak magazine, he said promising to back him in courts if required.
Rajinikanth in TN Politics
Rajinikanth had first made known his political ambitions clear in December 2017, while interacting with fans. He said he would launch a political party that would practice spiritual politics and contest Tamil Nadu’s all 234 constituencies in 2021 Assembly elections.
After the announcement, AIADMK, DMK, left parties, VCK, Naam Tamizhar and other fringe outfits became jittery and started developing an anathema against him as they thought he would shatter their political dreams. With this they would criticise him whatever he does, speaks and even branded him part of the sangh parivar.
Journalist Sridhar said, after the demise of strong leaders like Jayalalithaa, and Karunanidhi, people think Rajinikant can fill the political vacuum in the state and give a clean and spiritual based government. But DMK, AIADMK and detractors fear that Rajini would kill their political ambitions which they have been nurturing for a long time. DMK which used him during the elections, now could not count on him anymore. After making his decision to join politics public, he has stopped supporting any political parties in Tamil Nadu. He is not like Kamal Hassan who is being written off if the past poll results are any indication, says Sridhar.