Koorma, Rama and Now Amma: Is Jayalalithaa Vishnu’s 11th Avatar?

This is not the first claim to Jayalalithaa’s supernatural presence in Tamil Nadu politics, even beyond her death. 

2 min read
MLA Mariappan Kennedy has called late TN Chief Minister Jayalalithaa the 11th avatar of Vishnu. (Photo: Altered by <b>The Quint</b>)

The last bizarre claim that we remember from the AIADMK men is that Hillary Clinton was inspired by Jayalalithaa to contest the US Presidential Elections. But the latest one from MLA Mariappan Kennedy takes the sycophancy to a whole new level.

Speaking on the floor of the Tamil Nadu Assembly no less, Kennedy called Jayalalithaa the 11th avatar of the deity Vishnu. During the debate on the grants for higher education, the MLA stood up to address the issue. In his speech, he listed the ten avatars of Vishnu and said that the 11th avatar was ‘Amma’.

He then called Sasikala the perfect replacement for Jayalalithaa, and the perfect guide for the party, after which he went on to sing long paeans of praise for TTV Dhinakaran as the guiding light and future of the party.

Of course, this is not the first claim to Jayalalithaa’s supernatural presence in Tamil Nadu politics, even beyond her death. When VK Sasikala first ascended to the post of General Secretary of the AIADMK, she declared in her first public speech:

Every day, I hear Amma’s aatma telling me, ‘I have given you the responsibility of 1.5 crore children.’

Later, when former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam began his revolt against Sasikala’s leadership of the party with a session of meditation at the Amma Memorial on Marina Beach, he too claimed:

I came here because Amma’s spirit called and urged me to tell the truth.

Within 10 days of Jayalalithaa’s death, an AIADMK Councilor, M Swaminathan, built a temple for the leader in Thanjavur, saying that she is a goddess who has accomplished more than anyone else in Tamil Nadu.

The temple, built within just a week, is dotted with pictures of Jayalalithaa from across the years, and also features a statue of the late chief minister, as well as a lamp that is kept lit in memory of her.

During election campaigns and political rallies, Jayalalithaa has often been featured as a deity. In the movie Aadiparashakthi, she played the role of a goddess.

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