He still cherishes the memory of his first meeting with MGR.

From MGR to Amma this man is always ready to harm himself for his leadersImage: Rathinam after trying to immolate himself.
news Leaders Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - 19:23
Written by  Pheba Mathew

When 68-year-old R Rathinam, a retired head constable, tried to burn himself in Jayalalithaa’s name, it was not the first time he had gone to such lengths.  

On Monday, he poured kerosene on himself in front of the Salem Collectorate. Before he could strike a match and set himself on fire, the police quickly intervened and stopped him. He was admitted to a government hospital in Salem.

Speaking to The News Minute, he says, “I cannot bear my leader (Jayalalithaa) being unwell and being admitted in the hospital. I want her to live long. No one else can take her place.”

For him, the leader is god, he says. But this love for the leader is not limited to Jayalalithaa. In fact, it all began with MGR.

Rathinam grew up watching MGR movies. “I love his movies like ‘Madurai Veeran’, ‘Aayirathil Oruvan’ and ‘Nam Naadu’,” he says.

But what began as a love for his favourite actor, slowly turned into complete devotion. “In 1985, when MGR said that he would step down from the post of Chief Minister, I consumed poison and tried killing myself,” says Rathinam.

He still cherishes the memory of his first meeting with MGR, he said, “I met him for the first time in 1985 and he asked me if he can do anything for me,” he said.

But why takes such extreme steps? “MGR and Jayalalithaa are my gods. They are more important to me than my family. I cannot bear if anything happens to them,” he says.

In 1987, when MGR died, Rathinam was given police protection to make sure that he did not do himself harm.

It turns out that the police had just cause for worry. In 2004, Rathinam took another extreme step at the Ramar Temple in Ayothiapattinam. “I wanted Amma to win the elections. So I cut off the last three fingers on my left hand. I wanted Amma to have a massive victory,” he says.

Even Jayalalithaa, was alarmed by this. “Amma wanted me to get my hands treated at the Apollo hospital in Chennai but I refused. How could I take back my offering which I have given to my god?” he asks.

He retired in 2006 as a head constable. But he continued to do campaigns for the AIADMK party in the district. According to The New IndianExpress, Rathinam would do street plays on his own to promote the party.

Currently recovering in the hospital, Rathinam’s condition is stable. Asked if he will do these things again, “If something happens to Amma, I will surely do something like this again,” he said.



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