Fans bathing images and giant cut-outs of popular politicians and matinee idols with milk had been a Tamil Nadu preserve for long. Not anymore.
The new state of Telangana is milking this sycophantic practice for good measure. Deification of chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao by giving milk bath to his cut-outs and portraits, whenever he announces sops for any group, has been the latest trend in the state.
Even a section of journalists and advocates have joined the craze along with millions of party loyalists of KCR, as the chief minister is popularly known.
Several advocates on Tuesday gave “ksheerabhisekam” (milk bath) to a portrait of KCR at the main entrance of the Telangana high court for enhancing the honorarium for the government standing counsels from Rs 15,000 to Rs 30,000 a month with retrospective effect from June 1, 2016.
“This is the only way through which we can express our gratitude to our dynamic chief minister,” said Gorige Mallesh, assistant government pleader and president of Telangana Lawyers’ Forum for Social Justice.
Leaders of ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) never miss any opportunity to conduct the elaborate ritual to get into the good books of the chief minister.
In October last year, deputy chief minister Mahmood Ali, along with hundreds of his party workers, washed the photograph of KCR with milk at Charminar after the state topped the ease-of-doing-business rankings.
Taking the cue, members of TRS women’s wing gave milk bath to the portrait of their “beloved leader” in January this year soon after KCR announced to give pension of Rs 1000 to single women.
Telangana employees did the same when KCR announced implementation of the pay revision commission. Brahmin associations followed the ritual when the government created a Brahmin welfare society with Rs 100 crore corpus fund.
Even the Telangana journalists’ association organised milk bath for KCR portrait after he announced Rs 30 crore in the budget for journalists’ welfare.
The list is endless.
“This type of culture was never been witnessed in the state even in the most feudal regime of the Nizams. As far as I am aware, besides idols of gods in temples, milk bath is given to statues of revered personalities like Mahatma Gandhi and Ambedkar, when they are desecrated by some mischievous elements, as mark of purification. For the first time, we are witnessing anointment of a ruler’s portraits with milk, obviously with selfish motives,” Telangana joint action committee chairman Prof M Kodandaram told Hindustan Times.
Congress spokesman Dasoju Sravan said giving milk bath to KCR’s portraits is the manifestation of “selfishness, sycophancy and slavery.”
“Obviously, they expect favours from the government. And KCR, too, likes such acts because he thinks it will create a godly image for him among the public,” he said.
Milk bath to superstar Rajinikanth’s cut-outs by his fans in Tamil Nadu has drawn a lot of flak from various sections of people. A petition was also filed in a court in neighbouring Karnataka seeking a ban to this tradition since it would deprive millions of children and hungry people of milk.
The court also ordered that the practice should be stopped forthwith. Even Rajinikanth had appealed to his fans to stop wasting milk by giving milk bath to his cut-outs.