Tom Vater

Tom Vater

Irreverent, informed and downright eclectic crime fiction and reportage from Southeast Asia and beyond

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When tattoo culture meets politics – Tamil Nadu – Nikkei Asian Review

Usually a matter of choice, Indian state takes political tattoos to new level.

Check out my new feature, with Laure Siegel, on one of India’s enduring personality cults.

For decades, the followers of six times state minister and recently deceased Jayalalithaa Jayaram, have been wearing their political idol’s face on their skins, acquired in mass tattoo sessions.

MADURAI, India — On a sweltering summer morning in 2016, D. Pandiamall, a 52-year-old money lender and political activist, was sitting in the entrance hall of her huge family home in a suburb of Madurai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

The room was bare but for images of Jayalalithaa Jayaram, a former movie actress who led the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (All India Anna Dravidian Progress Federation), India’s third largest political party, who had just been declared chief minister of Tamil Nadu for the sixth time. The state is home to about 78 million people, equal to about 60% of the population of Japan….

Read the full story here…

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