Rajinikanth’s response to the violence that erupted while common people engaged in a protest against Anil Agarwal's Sterlite in Thoothukodi came as intellectuals and celebrities across the world voiced their protest against the mining mafia.
But here is a man called Rajnikanth, the superstar of the Tamil film industry, who went contrary. Rajini is a Superstar because of the defiant characters he has portrayed in the movies. In his films, including his latest Kaala, he frequently stages protests against dominant, oppressive forces and hence, he is the superstar for the poor in the state. This is the mantle he took over from MGR.
Tamil Nadu is the only state in the entire country to have embraced so many film artists as political leaders. In Tamil films, a person from the higher caste is placed as the hero, a pseudo-pariah and an archetype that has ruined the defiant legacy of the Tamils in the world. The labouring masses have succumbed to this enslaving caste, class and gender biased construct.
However, when subjected to violence, Tamils have always retaliated in various ways; the spirit of protest and sedition have always directed Tamils to stand for their dignity and rights.
For over two decades, the protest against Sterlite was shunned and misdirected by almost all the dominant political parties in the state and country. Especially the Dravidian parties whose ideology is supposed to be rooted in the works of Iyothee Thassar and Rev John Rathinam, the Dravidian spearheads who coined and used the term ‘Dravida’ to defy the caste system - They juxtaposed Dravida with Tamil to qualify what real Tamilness is all about.
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The Tamil spirit enthused the affected people in Thoothukudi to rage against the dominant oppressive machineries, but several people were gunned down. Apart from the deaths, the kind of damage caused to the environment and people's lives are unimaginable. Degradation of agricultural land, marine life, the after-effects on people's lives are aspects that Rajnikanth couldn't comprehend with his filmi ignorance. After all, how could anyone expect socio-political justice and sensitivity froma rich man?
On the one hand, we have Anil Agarwal; on the other Rajnikanth. Both are miners but of different sorts. Both mine the vitality of life from the common people. One of the wounded asked Rajnikanth: Who are you?
Rajnikanth and other politicians are mere rhetoricians of the BJP, whose ideals lie in the fundamentals of RSS and other violent, intolerant, undemocratic, anti-people, casteist, and racist politics in the world. Rajnikanth might be a kalaa of a different sort to Pa Ranjith, but for us he is the demonic whitening agent that lies at the heart of caste, class, gender bias and business goons in the world who finance the political parties that accommodate their business agendas and profit in return.
When Rajnikanth said what he did, it was probably the Freudian slip of an elite man whosesolidarity was only pretentious. 'DO NOT PROTEST' is embedded in the lives of the elite, succumbing, as they do, to political power and growing economic power as their fundamental, economic and political virtue.
These are anti-democratic and anti-secular claims embedded deep within the psyche of the political elite from the film industry in Tamil Nadu, the precise polity that the genuine, protesting democrats should be more careful of than goons like Anil Agarwal. The Tamil film industry pretends to care about the toiling masses, frequently makes films about them, but actually do no more than mine them for stories of misery. Rajnikanth has always been doing that is and is doing it more than ever before because of his impending political career.
The Tamil people would do well to completely reject his bogus politics, his bogus films and his bogus solidarity articulated in double-edged statements like this one. It is better to be in a graveyard than in a palace built on the blood and sweat and bones of the poor. The graveyard is where the poor and the Dalits who bury the dead live. We find humanity there.Not with the likes of Rajnikanth and the living.
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