The Marina Beach – pic by Dr Vijay Sriram

Last fortnight’s happenings, especially the pronouncements of celebrities after they called on an ailing leader of the State, the comings and goings and sloganeering would have all ideally given much grist to this column’s mill. But The Man from Madras Musings does not wish to dwell on that. What he on the other hand does wish to comment about is the extraordinary behaviour of our State Government, such as it is.

Tweedledum, he of the duo that now rules, the other half being Tweedledee, has in MMM‘s view come away from the controversy with sufficient egg on his face to qualify as a one man hatchery. The purpose and logic behind denying the Old Man a resting place on the Marina simply evade MMM. Mind you, MMM is against memorials of all kinds, and even more against the usage of the Marina for this purpose. But in this case, given that the Tweedledum/Tweedledee Government had just a couple of years ago laid their leader to rest in the same place, why deny the leader of the rival party the same privilege? It would have been far more gracious to allow the burial to happen there without the matter being eventually decided by a court of law.
There is one positive aspect to the matter – neither party has taken over additional land from the Marina for the burial spots of the two late lamented leaders. Each has been forked out space from the memorials of their respective mentors. That has at least put to rest the fear that in centuries to come the beach may just become a Golgotha of sorts. The corresponding negative is that we will have to suffer four memorials where there were initially two, all constructed in styles completely alien to local forms. The two existing memorials are grotesque to say the least, one like something from Paris and the other defying all description, complete with a rearing winged horse that looks as though it flew down from Athens. The plans released a couple of months ago for the memorial of the leader of Tweedledum/Tweedledee party too had all kinds of strange features. The new one, as and when it is planned, will not be much different.

But to get back to the original act of refusal, MMM notices that Tweedledee and other lesser tweedles in the Cabinet distanced themselves very cleverly from the decision, claiming that Tweedledum had taken it by himself, without consulting any of them, thereby leaving him to face all the flak. MMM supposes that this is what politics is all about. Even more interesting was the behaviour of the lawyers who had filed petitions in the court against the laying to rest of the leader of the Tweedledum/Tweedledee party at the Marina. The moment they realised that the arguments they had proffered against the burial (coastal regulation zone, environment, etc), could be used against the proposed interment of their leader, they withdrew all their cases. Environment, CRZ, etc be damned. What mattered was that the recently deceased leader had to get space there. To MMM it just went to show that many of these cases were politically motivated and not guided by any sense of altruism.

Be that as it may, MMM is happy for the recently departed – he would have wanted space on the Marina and he has got it. As for the larger principles that get affected, we gave those the go-by a long time ago, did we not? What does one more memorial matter?
One last word – the State Government, or Tweedledum, put forward an argument that the Marina was meant for Chief Ministers who pass away while in harness. If that were to be mandated for the future, MMM will hereafter pray fervently that all CMs of our State live long and lead a happy life in retirement.