The politics of hero worship will further depoliticize the state.
Rajinikanth’s decision to enter politics was expected. His announcement that he will contest all the 234 constituencies in the next state assembly elections has made his intentions clear. But more than his own intentions, we can also understand the intentions of those who are behind him.
Rather than asking what Rajinikanth will do when he takes to power, it is important to ask what will happen to Tamil politics because of his entry.
India is a parliamentary democracy. What does a democracy do? It makes an individual a citizen. Actors are those who financially gain by fans watching their movies and making them blockbusters. So, what happens when actors become politicians? Citizens become fans. Even in his speech, he said that his fans must start clubs all across the state. His intention, therefore, is to convert the citizens of the state into his fans. Fans are worshippers, they do not ask questions, they bow their heads in front of a leader and obey him. Fans see not a leader, but a Fuhrer in him. They voluntarily surrender before the Fuhrer without any question.
The father of our Constitution, BR Ambedkar, once said, “Hero-worship is demoralizing for the devotee and dangerous to the country.” Rajini encourages hero-worship, and he and his ‘Fan club Politics’ are dangerous. It is not only religion which can drive people to hero-worship, cinema too can.
Today, cinema theatres have become temples. Film stars have become gods. Rajinikanth’s politics is an expression of this phenomenon. The backdrop of his stage, the symbol he shows with his hands, are from the movie ‘Baba’, which was a flop. That’s what he is bringing to politics, and even he cannot be confident that he will be a hit in politics. Yet, why is he coming to politics? Because he is preparing the ground for communal politics.
Even if there is much to criticize about Dravidian politics, it this ideology which has set Tamil Nadu apart from the rest of India. BJP knows that only by destroying Dravidian politics can their communal politics take root in the state. Their defeat in RK Nagar polls has demonstrated their need for Rajinikanth. It is certain that the field he is preparing will be fertile for communal politics. He might say ‘Spiritualism’, but that is just another word for communalism. Even the BJP does not call itself a religious party, they also call themselves spiritual. That is what Rajinikanth is parroting today.
The BJP government tried to make the Bhagvat Gita India’s holy book, and today, Rajini started his political speech with a sloka from the Gita. It is very clear. His ‘spirituality’ is Hindu spirituality, there is no place for Christianity or Islam in it. He does not know or talk about the spiritualism in any other religion but Hinduism. He knows that he cannot survive in Tamil Nadu by openly espousing this, which he has learned from the setback of the BJP in the state, that is why he says ‘spiritualism’. But I am sure the Tamil people will understand this, and reject him.
As a political party, the VCK does not have any objections to Rajini’s entry into politics. However, the opportunity for Dalit people to free themselves from the illusion of movies has just arrived. Instead of changing Dalits into politically conscious people, his entry will cause great damage.
MGR was often portrayed as the protector of the poor on screen. What we should not forget is that in his rule, ultimately it was not the oppressed people who gained political power. Rajinikanth is viewing politics like a film project. Just like “we should release the movie and make money”, he is now saying “let’s go to war and emerge victorious”. Our leaders did not just enter politics to win. The service of the people is the priority and electoral victories and losses always take second place. But there is no mention of serving the people in Rajini’s speech. This is why I consider Rajini’s entry into politics will end up endangering Dalits.
Rajinikanth is not a man for change, he is for status quo. He has no idea of social change, he only talking about political party system. He has no social or economic thinking.
I believe that Rajinikanth’s politics must be aggressively countered and its success prevented.
Views expressed are those of the author and not of Itz Chennai.
D Ravikumar is the General Secretary of VCK, a writer and an anti-caste activist.
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