At Rajaji Hall, several members of the Sasikala family can be seen.

On Jayalalithaas final journey it is Sasikala and her family all around her
news Jayalalithaa Tuesday, December 06, 2016 - 09:48

As Jayalalithaa makes her final journey, with her body now kept at the Rajaji Hall in Chennai for public homage, one fact has not gone unnoticed – it is Sasikala and her family members who are all around her. 

During MGR’s funeral, the rift between Jayalalithaa and MGR’s wife Janaki was out in the open, with Jayalalithaa insulted during the procession, even as she tried to be with him in his final journey. But there is no such confusion during her funeral procession. At Rajaji Hall on Tuesday, several members of the Sasikala family can be seen. 

Sasikala, Ilavarasi, Ilavarasi’s son Vivek, Dhivaharan, Jai Anand (who is Dhivaharan’s son), Dr Venkatesh and Dr Sivakumar can be seen patiently standing besides Jayalalithaa's body. Several other members of the Mannargudi family are also present. Dr Sivakumar is known to have closely monitored Jayalalithaa in her final days. 

In her later years, Jayalalithaa did not remain in touch with her own family members, and it was Sasikala and other members of Sasikala’s family who were close to her. In fact, Jayalalithaa’s niece, Deepa, was not even allowed inside the Apollo Hospital when Jayalalithaa was critical. 

Sasikala was born in 1957 at Mannargudi to the agriculturalist couple of Vivekanandam and Krishnaveni. She had four brothers – Sundaravadanam, Jayaraman, Dr Vinodhagan and Dhivaharan – and a sister Vanithamani. They were not rich, but they belonged to the influential Kallar community.


Sasikala’s husband, Natarajan, was a government Public Relations Officer in the 1970s. He put his wife in touch with Jayalalithaa, then a growing leader in the AIADMK, through IAS officer VS Chandralekha. Sasikala was running a video-tape shop and used to record weddings attended by Jayalalithaa, and soon broke into her inner circles.

Both the AIADMK, with Jayalalithaa as its chief, and the Kallars benefitted from the political relationship with each other, and Sasikala was the one who facilitated it. As Sasikala’s friendship with Jayalalithaa bloomed, so did the fortunes of her husband and her own family.

Dhivaharan, Ilavarasi, the TTV brothers – Dhinakaran, Sudhakaran and Bhaskaran, TV Mahadevan, RP Ravanan, Sasikala's brother Sundaravadanam’s progenies and their spouses – Prabha, Dr Sivakumar, Dr Venkatesh, Anuradha, Karthikeyan, and Ilavarasi’s son Vivek are known to be key members of the family.

Speculation is rife that Vivek could perform the last rites for Jayalalithaa.

Read more about the Sasikala family here: The Mannargudi Intrigue: How Sasikala’s family grew to control TN’s power structures

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