How to Script a Historic Funeral: Lessons from Karunanidhi & Jayalalithaa’s Followers

Politics

How to Script a Historic Funeral: Lessons from Karunanidhi & Jayalalithaa’s Followers

Illustration: Shivali Devalkar/Arré

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abriel Garcia Marquez’s novella, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, is centred around the impending killing of Santiago Nasar by the Vicario twins, Pedro and Pablo. In the narrative, several friends and well-wishers in an unidentified Colombian town, attempt to warn Santiago about the brothers, but eventually fail. The protracted climax of the book ends with a frightening attack, where Santiago is stabbed more than 20 times: In a particularly macabre sequence, he is described carrying his own entrails into his house where he collapses and dies.

This week, closer home in Chennai, we witnessed another death that was foreseen: that of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader and former Tamil Nadu chief minister, M Karunanidhi. Ninety-four-year-old “Kalaignar”, or artist, served as the DMK chief for 50 years, spearheading some of the most dramatic shifts in Tamil Nadu politics. If his life was marked by high-voltage drama, the death of the wily old man of TN has proven to be no less striking.

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