Chennai: The white beard glistening in synch with crystal-like glasses, face cool as cucumber and the slightly receding hairline from the forehead coupled with dense white strands of hair flowing from the head down to the nape, he was worshipping the other day at the ancient Meenakshi Amman temple in Madurai, attired in white dhoti and long shirt, an angvastram dangling from the shoulder.
The sartorial makeover hand in hand with the age-old tradition had something so happily local about it that nobody around could find anything outlandish about him.
In fact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi seemed all the spitting image of a ‘son-of-the-soil’ sage that the natives could connect with sans any hang-up.
Coming down to Tamil Nadu for wooing the electorate to vote for the NDA candidates–BJP trying its luck in 20 constituencies in the April 6 Assembly elections–Modi took an easy trip down the memory lanes of the Tamil Nadu history quite with aplomb as if the State had long been his home turf.
The very name of ‘Madurai’ sets off memories of MGR (acronym for Former CM and AIADMK Founder M G Ramachandran) blockbuster ‘Madurai Veeran,’ he said at the meeting near Pandikovil in Madurai amid AIADMK leaders and BJP functionaries on Friday.
In fact, one could not help recalling that when the matinee idol’s film was released to a roaring success way back in 1956, Modi must have been a six-year-old boy far away in Gujarat.
Yet the BJP leader’s very mention of MGR set the audience bursting into applauses that continued when he remembered that it was Madurai where the late leader floated his party, parting ways with the DMK, a party
of dynasty as he termed.
Again it was the Madurai belt that installed MGR in the throne three times. In 1977, MGR contested from Aruppukottti, in 1980 from Madurai West and in 1984 from Andipatti.
Accurate historical data Modi seemed to have at his fingertips even as the onlookers steeped in the Madurai mores and memories looked at him in awe.