With a speech at a fan meet, South Indian Superstar Rajinikanth cleared the air about his entry into politics. Though his speech minted few words of his ideology and character, his course of action would be decided soon. Spirituality and god seem to be his pet words in all his speeches of politics too, which would reinforce the idea that “He is just another actor acting in favor of Right Wing”. The time couldn’t have been just a coincidence that the person has been loitering around the question of “when to enter” for past 20 years just woke up to serve the people and that the announcement came in the wake of setbacks of BJP in the state and that too with the buzz word of “spiritualism”.
It has been 20 years since we have been hearing about his political entry. The question we should ask is “why has he waited for so much time?” and “why now?” One thing is clear that there exists a political vacuum after the demise of Amma Jayalalitha that gives way for political entry (at least in the minds of those who want to enter politics). That’s why we hear that two stalwarts of Tamil Film Industry, Kamal and Rajini, entering politics. On one hand Kamal, being an atheist, seems to be preparing his ground on rational thinking and on the other Rajini on religious grounds.
What Rajinikanth has to offer?
- Fan base: “He could be having the biggest fan base in the country for his films, but political arena is way different from movie screen” say the experts. His plans to convert fans to cadre would only promote hero worship where there would be an army of bhakts who would do anything for their hero without applying even an iota of their brains.
- Ideology: He started his speech with a shloka from gita where Krishna says to Arjuna about doing duty which says “Do your duty of engaging in war, if you win you’ll rule else if you lose you’ll go to heaven. If you go without waging war you will be a coward”. I don’t know how seriously he took the shloka, but for me he seriously seems to have failed already by reciting the Shloka, for not hearing the voice of people for 20 long years since the inception of politics in his mind and for not addressing on which lines he is going to work. It is the uncertainty of ideology or the lack of clarity which would be a problem for a political future.
- Symbolism: During speech, the background on stage shows a picture of his hands from the movie BABA, in which he acted as a spiritually gifted personality. The lotus in the background represents his inclination for the right wing. His quotes from Bhagavad-Gita and his stress on God and Spiritualism shows his another face of religious extremism and Political Infantilism. There is merely any difference in Hindutva or Spiritual Hinduism or Sanatana way of life. All are just different branches of same tree.
- Caste factor: Just like MGR, Rajini also portrayed himself as a leader of masses and savior. As he belongs to one of socially backward castes, the ignorant masses might be in belief that he would at least improve their social and political status. Due to his inclination towards Right Wing, Rajini’s entry into politics will endanger both social and political identity of Dalits and Backward castes.
- His limited career as he announced: As he claims “after he starts the political party, he would only serve for 235 days” and has announced that “he would leave politics after that”. I wonder what he was thinking while claiming this limited career in politics. This could very much against him, as his uncertain stand would only lead to others taking over the party he started. If he is not going to continue why to start a party at all in first place? May be that he is going to club it with BJP later, as also confirmed by the reports in Indian Express that “Superstar Rajinikanth’s political outfit will be a part of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) for 2019 Lok Sabha elections, said Tamilisai Soundararajan, president of Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Tamil Nadu unit.”
- Overall impact: He may be a superstar with infinite fan following, but his ideology and approach are just not right for the people. He might end up making another Karunanidhi or MGR or Jayalalitha with hero worship and franchisee politics or merge his party with Right Wing or let someone else take over as he relieves himself from his duty(there by failing to follow his own shloka). Whether he wants to serve people and wants to make use of his fandom to enter politics while benefiting the anti-poor, only time will tell.
Rajinikanth, being backward by caste, would naturally attract the masses at the same time his inclination towards the right might further do injustice to the very backward classes he would bank on for votes. On the other hand if he merges his party with BJP, as posted by BJP spokespersons on social media, it would betray the very own Tamil voters who are looking for a pole star in politics. Either way, the ripples caused by his political entry would hurt Tamil political scene far more than the little good it has to offer.
The Views expressed in the article are not of criticbrain but completely of the author.
Mr.L is a Hyderabad based IIT graduate, rational thinker, political analyst, who took on a mission to make people understand the reality.
Author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org