In life a stage comes when material achievements like name, fame and wealth appear less relevant, I will not say irrelevant. For, name, fame and riches do matter in life no matter what you do. Only complete renunciation of the world makes this material gains irrelevant and useless. Superstar Rajinikanth is passing through this stage in his life. He has taken to the Himalayas in quest of wisdom and some peace. “God is as powerful as your faith in Him”, he said once.
It is 25 days of sojourn in the hills. Rajinikanth is visiting temples and abode of Gods in the Himalayas, meeting and interacting with Sadhus and Sants; seeking their blessings. All this before he formally takes the plunge in politics. He said in Rishikesh, the other day, “God has wished me to join politics”. Whether he will succeed in politics or not only time will tell. But when you look at the man even if you are not a film buff you are compelled to admire Rajinikanth.
Despite hailing from the glamorous world film world where ‘looks’ matter, Rajinikanth does not hide his appearance in real life which is just the opposite of what he looks on silver screen. At 67, he is bald, does not wear wig and does not put make on his face if not facing camera. Some other superstars of Mumbai film industry use wig and are heavily made up even while not facing camera. He has greyed but he never colours his hair; sports grey beards and moustache. The actor does not look good in real life. This is not to belittle his stature and personality. He is smart and exuberant.
Another remarkable aspect of Rajinikanth is his humbleness. He is not arrogant and seldom throws tantrums; a common trait of film stars. His approach is simple. Rajinikanth also spends a part of his wealth in charity.
Every individual who believes in God has his or her own way of connecting to the Almighty. It is something which is known only to God and his devotees. I wonder what he means when he says that God wished him to join politics.
Few months ago may be at the end of 2017, Rajinikanth said that he wants to join politics so that he can serve the people of Tamil Nadu. Later he invoked the legacy of M. G.Ramchandran, and told a gathering at a function that he would serve the people of the state like MGR did as chief minister. Rajinikanth said that he wants to serve the people and work for the upliftment of the poor and downtrodden.
I interpret Rajinikanth’s desire to serve the people by joining politics differently. Some may not agree with me.When an individual is blessed with wealth in abundance, has name and fame he looks for something else. ‘Power’ is something that gives a different kind of satisfaction or to say in crude language a different kind of ‘kick’. P. V.Narasimha Rao was sick in 1991 when Rajiv Gandhi died in a bomb blast during election campaign in Tamil Nadu. The Congress elected Rao as its leader and he became the Prime of India in 1991. Within few months of becoming Prime Minister, Rao was in ‘pink of health’. Those who had seen him then would recall.
However, I never say that Rajinikanth is entering politics for a kick or for enjoying power. He must have a genuine desire to serve the people. Politics is the best way to do something for the masses. No other platform provides better opportunity to serve the people than the dais of politics.
Many Indian industrialists joined politics to enter Parliament. Some of them took a political plunge to have the feel of the corridors of power. Few industrialists made it to Parliament without joining any political party by getting nominated to the Upper House of Parliament, Rajya Sabha. Some even became Ministers at the Centre.
For Rajinikanth there is nothing much left to achieve in life. He is at the pinnacle of his film career. The actor has earned lumpsum money to live the rest of his life with opulence. But he is seeking a new engagement, a new beginning in life away from the arc light of film studios. Politics is his first choice.
However, I would like to remind Rajinikanth that river of politics does not flow smoothly. It is turbulent as Ganga is in Haridwar. Today, people line up at his residence or elsewhere to get a glimpse of him. As a politician he will have to meet people of all hues some of them may be crooks and power brokers. To handle these bad elements of political workers is an arduous task. It will demand patience and perseverance. In my public life as a politician spread over for more than five decades, I have seen people approach me for help including monetary help. Often I obliged them. But there were few and are still some who will seek assistance from me and yet badmouth me. However, the number of such selfish characters is very few. People are genuine and for a politician, public may not be God but public is no less than the almighty. I wish Rajinikanth all success.
R K Sinha
(The writer is a Member of Parliament)