An open letter to Mr Rajinikanth

Where is the party, sir?

First, accept my hearty greetings on your being conferred the Icon of the Golden Jubilee award of IFFI by the BJP government at the Centre.

Of course, we are not treating this as an effort to paint you in saffron hue. Not that you wish it either. After all, you have made it clear, for now that is, that you will resist any such attempt, as in the case of Thiruvalluvar.

Let’s get into the matter on hand. In India’s Parliamentary democracy and politics, the party is paramount. Technically, the Constitution does not talk of political parties, but recognises only representatives elected from constituencies. The person who enjoys the confidence of the maximum number of voted representatives becomes the PM or CM.

But, owing to traditions like ‘the whip’ and legislations like anti-defection law, ‘the political party’ has gained Constitutional relevance. In any case, world over, since the dawn of democracy, the Party has been the core rallying point of a group of people or those subscribing to an ideology. Thus, politics without a party is like floating aimlessly mid-air sans any grounding.

Mr Rajinikanth. You have declared yourself as a contender in the TN political arena. Of course, your fans have made this decision eons ago. But somehow, even after close to two years, your political party is nowhere in sight. We had stressed earlier that a political party is the very essence of the democratic playground. Forget majors like AIADMK and DMK, even minor and mini players like Seeman, Velmurugan, actor Karthik, T Rajendhar etc., all stand on a party platform. In fact, many of them are not even heard, let alone being known. Still,they hold on to their party.

For that matter, your 44-year friend Kamal Haasan has not only floated a party, but fought elections as well, and to his credit, did make a significant mark. He has walked the talk. But you, the most sought after voice in the political spectrum has no formal ‘foot’ing till now. A grossly disproportionate state of affairs. Now I am not trying to ridicule you, but the fact that your much touted party remains a far cry does seem ridiculous.

There is this other issue: Your esoteric and mysterious utterings. Somehow you have cultivated and perfected the art of saying things that no one understands. And in this rational land, when no one understands something, everyone talks about it. So everytime you make a vague remark, the media goes ablaze and the idiot box suddenly gets chalked up into eight or ten squares, each occupied by an expert, capable of deciphering any gibberish.

Just in these two years since your announcement of, not a party but the possibility of a party, you have uttered so many nothings that have all meant something to someone. The latest, but not the last, is your profound prophecy that a miracle plus wonder will happen in 2021. Of course it will, if we assume that whatever happens is a miracle. And since, you have now declared that a miracle will happen, the surprise effect of the miracle is no longer there. Confused? Well I am writing to you, sir. So I am bound to get infected.

In today’s milieu, CM aspirants must necessarily be familiar with all political, economic, tech and social issues. In these two years, while you have made so many remarks bordering on the mystic and meta, I can’t remember one statement of yours that can be remotely called intelligible. Now I am not suggesting you are incapable of it. The point is, all of your utterings are dialogues, punch or pinch, but not statements. Your intention seems to be to create a ripple and not to convey a stand. You have given the go by to so many daily issues that elicit response from even the most obscure politician. But I concede that, you can get away with anything and you know it.

And when you do rarely, very rarely, make a statement, that too only in airports, one is stumped. For instance, when quizzed on your opinion on the Ayodhya issue, you said in all seriousness: ‘I respect the verdict of the Supreme Court!’. OMG! That was a cinch no one would have thought of. The point is, Mr RKanth, let the party come when it comes. Why don’t you start telling, not in shrouded verbiage, but with as much clarity you can muster, your position on various matters that come up everyday. Like for instance, the economy, crime, State government schemes. Sri Lanka, etc. Yes, these things count, sir.

By the way, there are rumours (in your case, rumours never die) that you will float your party in October 2020. Why a year? Again, the rumour is, three of your movies are being released in this period and so the political party, if it happens, will be only after the films hit the screens. But that would be too close to the polls. The question is, is all the talk about wonders and miracles just to keep the celluloid pot boiling?

After all, over the last 25 years, it is no coincidence that all of your movies have been preceded by political buzz featuring all the Ws- when, where, who, why etc. (I also give license to readers to add as many ifs and buts here). The movies themselves overflow with teasers and tantalising one-liners about your political plans. So are we now set for yet another, and this time, prolonged bout of Maya & Chaya charade that will tantamount to nothing of substance eventually? We are not suggesting so. But such suspicions are inescapable.

Many are not humoured by your antics. Of course we have nothing against you, but are only seeking to understand you, an exercise that is getting a tad too tiring. It is our honourable intention that your political catwalk does not end up as a display of the emperor’s, meaning your, new clothes.

(The writer T.R.Jawahar is Group Editor of Chennai-based News Today, Maalai Sudar and Talk Media publications.)

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Jawahar T R