Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa's mortal remains were put to rest today at Marina Beach with full military honours in a funeral ceremony that took place at 4.30 pm on Tuesday. Her remains were buried in MGR Memorial on Marina Beach, where MGR himself had been buried. 

As the burial proceeded, many posed the question as to why Jayalalithaa, an Iyengar Brahmin by birth was buried and not cremated as is the Hindu custom. 

Though there are no clear answers, there are several possible theories:

  • In the honour of MGR?

 According to some reports, Jayalalithaa chose to be buried because her mentor and close associate MG Ramachandran had been buried. The spot where her remains were interred - next to MGR's - corroborates this theory. 

  • Dravidian Tradition 

Another theory claims that it is not in the Dravidian tradition to be cremated. The Dravidian movement rejected god and religion. Almost all the Dravidian leaders, including Periyar, Anna Durai and MGR, were interred and not cremated. The burial spots take the form of a memorial, which then serves as a remnant of the leader and the movement for followers and people to revere. 

Yet another theory being floated in the media to explain the lack of cremation was that Jaya was buried since cremation requires a blood relative to perform the last rights of the deceased. Since Jayalalithaa's only descendant is her foster daughter, Deepa Jayakumar (who was born to her late brother Jayakumar), it is suspected that party leaders want her involvement to be minimal. Analysts claim the party is scared the daughter might claim political succession to Jaya by virtue of her blood. 

According to reports, Sasikala, who was one of Jaya's closest aides, did not want Deepa around fearing a possible challenge to Jaya's succession. Deepa was not even allowed to visit Amma when she was in the hospital in Chennai.