Centre Mints Special Coins in Bid to Appropriate MGR’s Legacy
In India’s fractured polity, it would have come as a surprise for many when the BJP paid tribute to actorturned-politician MG Ramachandran on his 100th birth anniversary on 17 January. Eight months later, as part of the continuing celebrations, the BJP-led Centre announced it would mint special Rs five and Rs 100 coins bearing his portrait. On the face of it, the decision may pass off as yet another move to commemorate the Tamil icon. But if one looks at it through the prism of Tamil Nadu’s ongoing political turmoil, it is loaded with a lot of symbolism.
Tamil Nadu is a state where actors, like MGR, have used their cinematic fame to venture into state politics. The matinee idol founded the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in October 1972, and went on to occupy the chief minister’s position between 1977 and his death in 1987.