Tamil Nadu CM J. Jayalalithaa’s last Rites as per rituals of the Iyengar community, which is an integral part of Dravidian Culture

Supporters of India's Tamil Nadu state's former Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa pay tributes near her photograph outside their party office in Mumbai, India, Dec. 6, 2016. VOA

Chennai, Dec 6, 2016: The burial of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa’s body instead of cremating it as per rituals of the Iyengar community she belonged to, had raised questions but experts say it is an “integral part of Dravidian culture”.

And there are precedents in the case of leading Dravidian leaders, including those of her own AIADMK.

“Burial is an integral part of Dravidian culture,” Ramu Manivannan, professor of political science at the University of Madras, told IANS.

He also cited the ancient practice of preserving the aged dead in big urns.

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Further bodies of leaders like DMK founder and Chief Minister C.N.Annadurai and AIADMK founder M.G. Ramachandran (MGR) – the political mentor of Jayalalithaa- were buried at the Marina Beach and memorials for them have come up there.

As such a memorial for Jayalalithaa, another tall leader of AIADMK, seems also likely.

AIADMK members, who are not atheists but believers, do not see Jayalalithaa as an Iyengar but their ‘Amma’ (mother) and beyond any caste or religion.

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Incidentally, Jayalalithaa’s relatives did not raise any objection to the burial as along with Sasikala – a once close confidante, her nephew Deepak Jayakumar performed the last rituals.

Furthermore, though the traditional practice in Hinduism is to cremate the body of a dead person, but burial is used for holy men, saints and children below the age of three. In many Hindu communities, the body of a holy person is buried in the ‘Padmasana’ (Lotus Position).

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Hindus believe that burning the body to destroy it, helps the departed soul get over any residual attachment it may have developed for the deceased person.

Holy men and saints are however believed to have attained a level of detachment that makes cremation unnecessary, while for children, it is considered that the soul has not stayed in the body long enough to develop any attachment. (IANS)