What Tamil history says about Sasikala's grave thumping
Bengaluru, Feb 17: After she was convicted in the disproportionate assets case, Sasikala Natarajan headed to Jayalalithaa memorial and thumped her grave thrice, murmuring something that was inaudible. Some called it theatrics, some called it a pledge of vengeance and others simply trolled Sasikala for her actions.
Social media was abuzz with jokes and memes of Sasikala's grave thumping. But a report in The Hindu traced the 'thumping of vengeance' in Tamil literature and history and concluded that the action was not so strange after all. Time and again, swearing over someone's dead body has found relevance in Tamil history if one were to trace it.
Tamil folklore and history are full of stories where people pledged vengeance at the grave of their leaders, kings, friends or family. The loyalists of the departed would swear to destroy everyone who were responsible for their death, loss etc. In this case, some reports suggested that Sasikala vowed to destroy the BJP, the DMK and other 'enemies'.
The report speaks of a scene in Kalki's Ponniyin Selvan in which, loyalists of the Pandya king meet at midnight at the Pallipadai temple. The temple was raised over the body of their leader. They pledged to destroy the Cholas and the very act is called Vanjinam Uraithal or avenging. Actions of Sasikala at Jayalalithaa memorial were somewhat similar.
The report in The Hindu quoted V Arasu, the former head of the department of Tamil in Madras University. He said that Vanjinam Uraithal was very common in villages during the reign of the kings. He added that the slamming of ground was common since it was believed to be mother earth or homeland.
It is said that such pledges would be taken in graveyards or in the battlefield to avenge the killing of a king or a warrior. Special bodyguards of the Chola kings called the 'Velakkara padai' or the workers' army vowed to chop off their heads if they failed to protect the king, historians added.
The report even threw light on how the British destroyed the body of Veerapandia Kattabomman along with the rope that was used to hang him so that his followers do not swear by his dead body to avenge his death.