Growing personality cult

  • Crying AIDMK leaders, cadres is a popular scene


Chennai, October 7: The breast-beating, crying, fasting and rolling on the ground wailing for the supreme leader that are being witnessed in Chennai and Bangalore in the wake of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa being denied bail by the Karnataka High Court point to the growing personality cult in the country.

A leader who did good to the people of a State or a country could be respected and even revered. But when a leader was convicted of corruption, the followers have to swallow the bitter truth and keep quiet in a dignified manner. But that is not happening in Tamil Nadu. Police force had to be deployed in full measure to prevent Jayalalithaa supporters from going to the residences of M Karunanidhi, DMK supremo, and his son Stalin. The scenes of people crying, pasting posters on the wall threatening Kannadigas of dire consequences if Jayalalithaa was not given bail.

Personality cult is an aberration in a democratic society. Agreed that we are from a feudal society and we tend to worship Rajas or strong men who can protect us. Indians in general are emotional and grateful. We worship Lata Mangeshkar more than any other singer. We adore Sachin Tendulkar more than any other player. We prostrate before celebrities like Amitabh Bachhan, Amir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Chiranjeevi. Nehru, Indira and Rajiv were worshipped in their lifetime.

It is common in Uttarpradesh to touch Mayawati’s feet or in West Bengal to worship Mamata Bannerjee. Before her, Bengalis used to adore Jyothi Basu. Bengalis preferred him as long he was active. NT Rama Rao also was a favourite of majority of the voters in Andhra Pradesh. But when he was ousted in a palace coup, there were no angry, emotional outbursts. No demonstrations and no threatening of suicides.

National parties are not devoid of cult personality. While Sonia and Rahul have been virtually worshipped by the Congressmen in the country, Narendra Modi has been emerging as an icon. Projecting larger-than-life image of important persons would be self-defeating in the long run. Though we adopted Westminster system, some of the aspects of the Presidential systems also have been entwined. Since our democracy is neither matured not developed, self-discipline is not one of Indian’s virtues.

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