Sunday, December 18, 2016

Power's Grasp

The late Cho Ramaswamy, lawyer, satirical comedian, playwright, who passed away recently, rightly remarked in his play that politics is a sewage. While our earlier leaders like Annadurai sought to work for the people, with the entry of top actors entering the scene, it caused a major shift. While MGR and the late Chief Minister Dr J Jayalalitha have implemented programs for the poor, the votes came through the image branding in the movies. Both were leading actors. Dr Jayalalitha herself has performed a number of character based roles and she stood out as the woman protagonist against her male actors. She had carved a niche for herself with her acting prowess.

As fate would have had it, from a brilliant academician she was propelled into stardom with her entry into cinema. Her fateful association with MG Ramachandran introduced her to the world of politics. However, for such as powerful persona, her personal life was an unhappy memory. Ironically, eventhough she was born into an aristocratic family, her father squandered away all the wealth and eventually died. Her mother who was also an actor pushed Jayalalitha into movies much against her wishes to alleviate the family from poverty. Otherwise, we may have probably seen a different Jayalalitha. 

Much of her life was dominated by her mother and MGR, she quotes in her interview with Simi Garewal when the Chief Minister was accused of corruption charges.

As for a late Dr J Jayalalitha, she was child who yearned for her mother’s affection and she willingly sacrificed herself at many junctures and ultimately, paid the highest price with her life on Dec 6 2016.

Her entry into politics was tumultuous since MGR never officially recognized her role in his personal or professional life. Jayalalitha was pushed out of MGRs funeral car and later in the 1989 Parliament assembly, the then ruling party members under DMK misbehaved and humiliated her. Jayalalitha vowed she would return as the Chief Minister or she would never set foot again in Parliament. A woman of steel and unimaginable determination, she came back as Chief Minister two years later. Known to be shy, naïve and reserved, she was completely forced to transform herself because of the cut-throat nature of politics and people in general.

She was erudite, sharp and brought a new respect for the state. The police in Tamilnadu have known to be one of the best and it is considered safer for women comparatively. Women were proud to have been represented by a scholarly Chief Minister. However, even the most intelligent have their weaknesses. Her over trusting nature and pride proved to be her deathknell. 

Jayalalitha’s health ailments were no secret. She was a severe diabetic and is said to have thyroid related issues. However, at every obstacle, she stood tall. This time, it was not meant to be since the circumstances surrounding her death have evoked strong sentiments of a conspiracy. Including the common man, film stars and political parties have urged the law for an investigation. For the 75 days that she was hospitalized, information regarding her health was kept away from the public and dignitaries. News of her sudden cardiac arrest, while on the road to recovery sent shockwaves throughout the country. Jayalalitha was a national icon more than just the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu.

In a week after her passing, those vying for power have quickly manipulated the situation to take over her property and the coveted role. But can they measure up?

The new so called leader pushed by party men to even become a Chief Minister sounds ridiculous. Jayalalitha fought and earned her place among men because of her education, oratorical prowess, supreme leadership skills and intelligence. The proposed replacement has a lot to prove. Though posters of the late CM have been replaced by a well planned strategy, she will forever remain in our hearts.

In the Hindu philosophy, we attribute it to karma. It was destiny. She never enjoyed the affection of her mother, nor did she have a chance at marriage or motherhood. Her brother had passed away, leaving her without a family. Without any emotional net, she was extremely vulnerable. She lived a sad deprived life and died a murky death.

May justice prevail.  May her soul find peace.

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