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In Bad Taste

There was bad political odour over the burial of Tamil Nadu titan M. Karunanidhi at the Marina grounds where his mentor C N Annadurai’s Memorial had been erected. The Madras High Court waived aside the AIADMK government’s refusal to grant permission for Karunanidhi’s cremation at the hallowed site. The TN Government’s reason for the refusal was that Karunanidhi had not died in harness as Chief Minister. Previously Annadurai, MGR and Jayalalitha has been accorded the honour. Rajgopalachari and Kamaraj were cremated at a different location. Karunanidhi was one of the most respected politicians in India. He had been a mentee of former chief minister and a torch -bearer of the father of the Dravidian Movement, Annadurai. It was not without reason that the DMK leadership asked for the veteran leader to receive the funeral honour. Congress Chief Ministers in the past had no such legitimate claim. The AIADMK government under Edappadi K. Palaniswami seemed politically motivated. Karunanidhi was very much of a legatee of Annadurai’s inspired leadership as any AIADMK Chief Minister. He spread Annadurai’s message for over half a century.  Protocol and precedent should have been waived in this case and Palaniswami should have risen above cheap political gimmicks.

True the DMK moved court in the past against allowing a memorial to Jayalalitha in the Marina Grounds. That may have led the AIADMK to pay the DMK back in its own coin. But the insult to Karunanidhi’s memory may have caused a ruckus in Tamil Nadu. The Madras High Court has now saved the situation. Karunanidhi was respected across party lines and beyond Tamil Nadu. He was a great leader, administrator and public individual. The AIADMK cabinet sullied its image causing the unseemly controversy. One wonders what J. Jayalalitha would have done if she was alive.

This also brings us to a juncture in this country’s history where political expediency guides most decision making even at the level of the Central Government. And every such political controversy lands up at the steps of the judiciary. This is not a welcome development as the courts have more important issues of human injustices to deal with rather than resolving issues that are in the realm of political shenanigans. Laws are sought to be made without keeping the Constitutional principles in mind. Naturally such laws are contested in the courts of law. The Madras High Court was unnecessarily dragged into a matter than involved two political rivals. This does not bode well for the country.

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