Thousands of people have gathered at Chennai’s Rajaji Hall to pay their last respects to Tamil Nadu’s former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa who passed away late Monday night. There is also a symbolic value to the way things have moved on after her demise including keeping her last mortal remains at the hall, which historically has been witness to ups and downs in Jayalalithaa’s life and career.
Rajaji Hall, formerly the banqueting hall, is used for social functions in the city of Chennai. However, maybe as Amma would’ve liked it, her mortal remains have been kept at the hall which saw the start of her meteoric rise in Tamil Nadu politics.
ADMK founder MG Ramachandran, Jayalalithaa’s mentor in politics who was also fondly called MGR, was laid to rest at the very same hall before his funeral. After MGR’s death, Jayalalithaa threw herself into active politics again and was sworn in as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu. It was the Rajaji Hall where the oath-taking ceremony took place.
Fittingly, her journey comes to an end at the very place which sparked two upsurges in her life. Rajaji Hall, located near Marina beach, is a picture of a fortress right now. However, supporters, hundreds of thousands in numbers in and around the hall, have gathered to signify the love and support they hold for their Amma.
Rajaji Hall was the place where she lost support of the party and also lost her long-time friend and companion MGR who, according to Jayalalithaa’s biography, dominated a third of his life. It is also the place where she claimed power for the first time.