Incredible India 32 – YSR Grants Moksha to 30 Followers

This is beyond nonsense, a calamitous event that can happen only in Incredible India.

When Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy (Chief Minister of the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh) died in a helicopter crash the other day, the 60-year-old politician, may his soul rest in peace, took with him not merely his four co-passengers.

Alas, Reddy took with him 30 other people at last count (Update: some SI readers put the toll now at 67 and others as high as 120).

Isn’t it reminiscent of the ancient Pharaohs, whose tombs sometimes included many of their close followers.

Indian media reports have it that 30 people ranging in age from 20-70 died of various causes in the aftermath of Rajasekhara Reddy’s death.

Some committed suicide by consuming pesticide. God, what a way to go.

Not the First
Rajasekhara Reddy is not the first Indian leader to take with him a bunch of followers and most certainly won’t be the last.

So what is it in the Indian political culture that brings about the death of so many people following a leader’s death.

When M.G.Ramachandra,a.k.a. MGR, the Chief Minister of the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu  died in December 1987 following a long illness, 30 followers committed suicide (some by self-immolation) and lakhs shaved their heads (an act usually done by devout Hindus after the death of their parents).

The death of followers accompanying the demise of their leaders is a depressing reality and sad reflection on the Indian polity.

Indian political institutions are notoriously weak despite 62 years of self-rule after the departure of the British colonial power in 1947.

Political structures in India like the national Parliament or State Legislative Assemblies are effective in name only.

While de jure political power seems decentralized in India, political power de facto is highly centralized and concentrated in the hands of a few individuals or groups.

At the center, political power usually resides in the person of the Congress party leader (usually a member of the Nehru family) and a small coterie and at the regional level in the hands of the Chief Minister.

Benefits for the masses in the Indian political system do not flow through established institutions or the bureaucracy as they legitimately should but are often routed in patronage fashion by the leaders to reward their followers through parallel extra-constitutional networks/channels.

So a leader’s death is often perceived as a personal calamity by followers with deadly consequences (literally) for some of them.

Will things change?

Not any time soon.

You see, notwithstanding all the incessant uproar that India has arrived the truth is India is a weak polity. Forget arriving,  the Indian train has yet to even leave the station.

Hey, what’s that disturbing noise out there?

Must be YSR’s followers shouting Mera Bharat Mahaan.

17 Responses to "Incredible India 32 – YSR Grants Moksha to 30 Followers"

  1. deepa   September 4, 2009 at 4:57 am

    I wonder if it always good to be moved by emotions? There should be a limit drawn to hero worshiping. I hear they also do milk abishegam for Rajnikanth’s poster and once the scene was featured in one for the movies (not sure if its done in real life), there’s a kushboo and a Ganesha cricket temple.

    Our religion asks us to be detached and yet we are the most emotionally charged people.

    Hope no more deaths occur for reasons like this, especially when there’s so much to be accomplished in life. Responds:

    Some SI readers are commenting that the death toll has risen to 67.

  2. arshadsod   September 4, 2009 at 5:11 am

    infact the suicide toll has rised to 67 …. waste less idiots Responds:

    Beyond weird.

  3. chaitu1987   September 4, 2009 at 8:19 am

    120 is the number being telecast now. Responds:

    1. 120?

    Mera Bharat Mahaan!

    Apparently, they have declared a holiday in Andhra Pradesh and the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu.

    2. Wonder what Loose Paiya a.k.a Karunanidhi will score?

    A maiden century? 😉

  4. arshadsod   September 4, 2009 at 9:30 am

    loose paiya never travels by choppper . he daily goes to CM office and returns home in car. that’s all he does, he is very safe . and hopes of completing a century is highly possible ……. Responds:

    You write: he is very safe . and hopes of completing a century is highly possible …….

    Oh, no. You may have misunderstood us.

    By scoring a century, we meant Loose Paiya will take 100 people with him when he goes to rendezvous with Perumal, Anna and MGR.

    God forbid that this nut case should live to be a 100. Think, Stalin will be 71 by then and Azhagiri will be 79.

    The prospect of two sibling clowns in their 70s tearing each other’s lungis for the CM’s seat seems unseemly even by Tamil Nadu standards (or lack thereof). 😉

  5. sumeshy   September 4, 2009 at 1:12 pm


    In the slums of chennai, near Marina beach, they still worship MGR as god. They have his pictures in between their gods and celebrate his birth and death day as major parties. During those days, 30 committed suicide, 29 were killed in riots while 47 police men were seriously injured. To see that YSR is reaching 120 shows that there is no hope for India, wherein people give up their lives instead of taking of care of their responsibilities.

    As for as MK, I think he is trying to be immortal 🙂 but if he dies, there will be riots four-fold and they will ensure that no one forgets the day this “great soul” departed our world. Recently they passed a law that no more burial in the beach but i am sure it will be a definite exception for this guy. It would be really funny to see Stalin and Azhagiri in thier 70s and trying to tear their lungis coz in that age, they would need help to the restroom.

    As you always say – “Mera Bharat Mahaan”. Responds:

    We haven’t gone to Kayya-Vaaya 😉 Marina in decades.

    The last visit was when MGR was still alive. So it was just Anna’s samadhi then and that stupid eternal flame.

  6. sumeshy   September 4, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    SI – neenga avalo gold aa? :)) Responds:

    Aama, namma rombha old, gold and bold (yes, we ‘re very old, gold & bold).

  7. boopalanj   September 4, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    See, No one expected YSR’s demise, but he died. People here are expecting one CM’s demise, and he sits like a stone.

    😀 Responds:

    What does Rajni say about vidhi in Muthu?

    Not to worry. Loose Paiya’s departure, whenever it comes, will be like no other!

  8. PradeepG   September 4, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    I wonder how many of the close relatives / friends / peers (MLAs, MPs, Goondas etc ) of YSR had committed suicide or died out of shock on hearing the news!

    And about the bunch of wackos who died for the person they had seen only on television sets, they would have been a pain to everyone around them given their retarded mental ability (or inability) and deserve so much to put an end to their miserable lives they would have lived so far. Responds:

    Maybe, it’s the hot Avvakai pickle these Telugus eat. Must have melted their brains.

    The toll is now 124, according to the Times of India.

  9. boopalanj   September 4, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Btw, I subscribed to BigFlix basic plan. (You can’t say “If you are in India, You can always watch it in Pirated DVDs” any more ;-)).

    So, when you would say “Added to NetFlix queue.” I would say “Added to BigFlix queue.”;-)

    [I am doubtful about this fellas having a good collection of movies. Dont know about service too. It is an experimental subscription..!]

    Btw, Jagan Reddy [son of YSR] seems to be nominated as Chief ministerial candidate to the Leadership of congress [some 120+ MLAs offer support to him, I heard.] Responds:

    1. Just checked out BigFlix.

    They seem to have a large collection of movies…but wonder how many copies of each they stock.

    Your 3-DVD Annual plan is about $80 cheaper than ours (for the full year)!

    2. Just realized Rajasekhara Reddy is a Christian. Voila.

    We were puzzled to read that he’d been buried. Hindus usually cremate their dead. Then checked YSR’s Wiki profile and found he’s a protestant.

    What is this – Christianization of Reddys or Reddyization of Christians? Seems more like the former.

  10. boopalanj   September 5, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    In Tamilnadu, a good percentage of CSI Protestants are formed by Nadars (a caste). They identify themselves as Christian Nadars.

    Similar thing in Andhra Pradesh too. Responds:

    Christian Nadars we were aware of but Christian Reddys was a first.

    There are Mormon Singhs too. No kidding.

  11. boopalanj   September 5, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Mormon Singhs? 😀

    Wonder if we would get to hear Muslim Brahmins too 😉 Responds:

    Doubt it…Brahmins are either devout Hindu or iconoclasts.

  12. deepa   September 6, 2009 at 9:34 pm


    You guys for real???? Death toll is significantly increasing? Is there a reason why they are really upset over this guy’s death? Was he a very good samaritan? Responds:

    There are no good Samaritans in that blighted land.

    Only bad Shaitans and very bad Shaitans.

  13. SRINIVAS   September 7, 2009 at 3:03 am

    YSR encouraged conversions during his regime ….churches sprang up everywhere in Andhra …with his support Responds:

    We are sick and tired of the Christian idiots for engaging in this proselytization nonsense.

    Even Desi Christians in the U.S. are forever talking of how India has become completely unsafe for Christians ignoring the provocatory incessant conversion activities by foreign missionaries. Drives us crazy.

    Given the population of the two communities Hindus and Christians in india, we think the fanaticism and zealotry is far higher among Christians than Hindus.

    Not to say we don’t have Hindu lunatics in India but taken as a proportion to their population, we think Christian nuts far outnumber the Hindu whackos.

  14. mogambo   September 7, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    “Good Samaritan” or “Big Badmaash” depends on who is framing the narrative.

    To his many followers (and party apparatchiks) whose fortunes are tethered to his very existence, he might be a good Samaritan with nary a flaw. To his many detractors who have seen him misuse/abuse public trust and worse, he is likely an Evil Incarnate. Apparently, YSR had plenty in both camps.

    Politicians, usually, are a mixed bag and with the power to affect people’s lives, they can purchase undying loyalty or engender unreserved contempt.

    As SI already pointed out, largesse in India is doled out by party bigwigs rather than through institutional channels and this endears them to the many have-nots bestowing a Robin Hood like quality on them. No wonder then, that they swear unqualified allegiance to them and overlook their misdeeds.

    While I’m no sociologist/psychologist, I see the death of most of these followers as similar to members of a cult who give it all up for their leader and his/her causes. They tend to be ones with very low self esteem or have been brainwashed off their individuality but are thankfully a fringe/minority. Responds:

    Praise the Lord that the Clown Prince (YSR Jr a.k.a. Jagan Mohan Reddy) has not been anointed the Chief Minister.

  15. COSMOSGroup   September 7, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    BTW: There are a lot of conversions back to Hinduism by Indians and People Of Indian Heritage whose fore parents left India migrating to British Colonies etc for work.

    This reverse conversion back to Hinduism makes a lot of sense, especially when the history of conversions of Indians to Islam was forced upon them by Islamic Invaders at the edge of a sword or impossible to pay taxation for being a Hindu in ones own country occupied by the barbaric invaders. To be a person of India or of Indian Heritage, it is natural and very comforting to be a Hindu when one truly understand Hinduism. Responds:

    In our not-so-humble view, conversion is fine as long as one ‘discovers the faith oneself’ (whatever that faith nonsense means) but these followers of the Virgin’s son insist on imposing the gospel on non-believers or those belonging to other faiths. They are as bad as the Islamic idiots who prattle laa ilāha illa Allāh or the Ram zealots who demolished Babri Masjid.

    In the U.S., we’ve asked these time-wasters why they spend so much time on such proselytizing/missionary activities. Invariably, their answer is that they want to share the good work with or bring the miracle of Christ to others.


  16. What_if   September 8, 2009 at 8:13 am

    In the above reply @SI: …..but these followers of the Virgin’s son insist on imposing the gospel on non-believers or those belonging to other faiths.

    Have you forgotten about “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ” given to you by two young visitors? You may have, but we don’t.

    Have you completed reading it? Have they visited you again to see if you need any help in Faith related matters? Just Curious! Responds:

    Yes, the Mormons were here three more times after the first visit. Each time, they enjoyed Indian food.

    During their latest visit, they’ve invited us to the Sunday service.

    No, we’ve not finished reading the Mormon Bible. We’re still in the Chapter 1, book of Nephi, of the 500+ page book. We’ll review the Mormon Bible after finishing it.

    BTW, could you please copy & paste the error message next time you encounter it.

  17. sumeshy   September 8, 2009 at 2:01 pm


    Time for Incredible India 33.

    For a movie shoot, our one-eyed National Award winning director, Priyadarshan waster 84 Lakh liters of water. I think he forgot the days where people in chennai had to run with a plastic kudam (pot) behind the water lorry. what a waste. Responds:

    We think Bollywood is in league with the toilet paper manufacturers to turn India into a paper-country like the U.S.

    Given the limited water supply in India, the wastage and the ferocious speed at which our biped mosquitoes breed, the dawn of the papered desi bottoms is nigh.

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