Cen­tre Mints Special Coins in Bid to Ap­pro­pri­ate MGR’s Legacy

The Day After - - STATES DIARY -

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.

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