Jayalalithaa was buried yesterday with full state honours. AIADMK workers, supporters, Chennai residents lined up along the route to the burial ground as her funeral procession slowly inched towards her final resting place. Draped in her favourite green saree, Jayalalithaa’s body was moved to a casket made of sandalwood, engraved with the words Puratchi Thalaivi Selvi (Revolutionary Leader) in Tamil. Her body was lowered into the ground, next to where MGR was buried. The coffin in which Jayalalithaa lay was made by the Flying Squad and Homage Company. This company has also made coffins of former Prime Minister Narasimha Rao and veteran actors Sivaji Ganesan and Manorama in the past, says a TOI report.
“The coffin was built with a freezer box with a heavy duty compressor to keep the body fresh. The exterior was gold plated,” P R M M Shanthakumar, managing director of the company, who had designed the coffin, told TOI. The coffin had the capacity to preserve a body for two to three days if the temperature inside was maintained between 0-5 degree Celsius. Shanthakumar and his team who had brought the coffin to Poes Garden had taken care of Jayalalithaa’s body until it was transferred to the box in which she was buried at the MGR Mausoleum, on Tuesday.
Yesterday, Chennai was under lockdown overnight as police and the administration made arrangements at Rajaji Hall for the body to be kept there for public view before taking it to the Marina Beach. It was at this hall in December 1987 when Jayalalithaa stood for over 12 hours next to the body of MGR. Over 15,000 police personnel were deployed across the city and state transport buses were ordered off the roads, fearing that they would be targeted by mourners.
But the weeping multitude that surged towards Rajaji Hall at the crack of dawn had time only for a last glimpse of their leader who enjoyed cult status as Amma.