Last month Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami and his deputy O. Panneerselvam had laid the foundation stone of a memorial to late Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha. The Rs50 crore memorial will come up on the Marina Beach front, where her body was buried near her mentor and another late Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran’s memorial. Jayalalitha had died on December 5, 2016.
However, the entire project is surruounded by controversy right from the date of announcement of the project to issuing of tenders to now selection of the architectural style. There was criticisms of the very idea of building a memorial for a leader who had gone to jail on disproportionate assets case. Even in case of tender, it was compalined that it lacked transparency.
And now some experts are raising their voice against the architectural structure for the memorial. Interestingly, after much debate a curvilinear abstract structure has been chosen for the memorial and named Phoenix after the mythical bird that could repeatedly come back to life from its ashes. Perhaps the intention here was to choose a structure distinctive from adjacent monuments apparently built by previous regimes. Some of the memorials like Gandhi Mandapam or Rajaji Memorial had followed traditional temple style while DMK had given emphasis to Dravidian style of architecture. However, according to some experts, Jayalalitha memorial doesn’t represent any of the traditional styles.