‘Snake’ removed from Rajini Mandram logo: Move to appeal to non-Hindu voters?

This comes weeks after a lotus was removed from under the logo. Observers say both changes are linked to Rajini’s desire to not alienate non-Hindus.
‘Snake’ removed from Rajini Mandram logo: Move to appeal to non-Hindu voters?
‘Snake’ removed from Rajini Mandram logo: Move to appeal to non-Hindu voters?
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It’s been just over a month since Rajinikanth announced his political entry, and already, his symbol has undergone two very conspicuous changes. The Rajini Makkal Mandram logo – which has a hand in the centre in what is widely recognised as the ‘Baba’ symbol – used to have a snake around it. In its most recent avatar, it has been take out.

A press note released on January 31, exactly a month after Rajini announced his political entry, Rajini Mandram thanked their Tirunelveli district office bearers for a consultative. The note, unlike previous communication from the body, did not feature the snake which previously encircled the Baba hand symbol.

This change comes weeks after another symbol in the logo – a lotus – was removed.

Observers say that both changes are linked to the actor-turned-politician’s desire to not alienate non-Hindu voters.

While the lotus was believed to link Rajinikanth to the BJP – a right wing party that he has long been rumoured to support – the snake has Hindu religious/spiritual significance.

The actor has always insisted that his will be ‘spiritual’ politics; however, looks like once he’s taken the plunge, he doesn’t want his brand of spirituality to alienate non Hindus.

According to reports, the decision to make the serpent slither away came after some fans insisted in a recent meeting that they were not too happy with the symbolism. “Thalaivar [Rajinikanth] had decided to remove the snake’s image after a section of fans said that it doesn’t go well with their religious beliefs recently at the meeting of Rajini Makkal Mandram in Tirunelveli,” a source in the Rajini Makkal Mandram reportedly said.

Rajinikanth announced his political entry on December 31 last year and the logo began featuring in communications with the media from that day. While his week-long interaction with fans prior to the announcement saw a lotus featuring prominently in the logo, in subsequent communications with the media, the lotus was dropped.

The serpent was speculated to be representative of the circle of life and death, much like the way a snake would shed its skin. In an informal interaction, Rajinikanth told reporters that the snake represents divinity and depicts 'Kundalini', or static energy that some spiritualists believe supports all life. Often, this energy is depicted as a serpent.

Significantly, the logo of the Ramakrishna Mission bears a similar symbol – with the serpent encircling a swan that is seated on a lotus, as the sun rises over the waters. Rajinikanth is said to have been influenced by the teaching of the Ramakrishna Mission in his early days. Ramakrishna Mission was founded by Swami Vivekananda to spread the word of his guru Paramahansa Ramakrishna.

After having launched a website and an Android app, Rajini Mandram is currently conducting recruitment drives across the state for an official party which is expected to be announced in some months.

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