Tamil Nadu Chief Minister (CM) and the beloved politician Ms. J Jayalalitha (popularly known as Amma) passed away late on December 5th evening, post suffering a cardiac arrest after multiple organ failure in Apollo Hospitals, Chennai. The 68-year-old politician, known for her myriad social welfare measures, had been undergoing treatment at Chennai’s Apollo hospital for over 70 days. She was admitted in hospitals on September 22nd with a heart problem.

 “It is with indescribable grief, we announce the sad demise of our esteemed Honourable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Puratchi Thalaivi Amma at 11:30 Pm today (5.12.16),” states the official press release.

India has lost a brave daughter, tweets Tamil superstar Rajinikanth in Tamil. “Not just Tamil Nadu but the whole of India lost a brave daughter. May her soul rest in peace,” Rajinikanth tweeted. “Deeply saddened at the passing away of Selvi Jayalalithaa. Her demise has left a huge void in Indian politics”, tweeted the Indian PM, Mr. Narendra Modi. Mourning the death, the Indian President Mukherjee tweeted, “One of India’s most charismatic & popular leaders, Ms. Jayalalithaa was a visionary & able administrator”.

“Popular,strong,bold,efficient, people- friendly,charismatic leader, Amma.Always at the heart of people. Big loss.I am shocked,saddened”, tweeted the West Bengal CM Mamta Banerjee.

Actor and singer Dhanush also tweeted on the demise of the “Iron Lady” of Tamil Nadu. Bollywood too paid their respects and expressed their sorrow regarding Jayalalithaa’s death. From Amitabh Bachchan to Shah Rukh Khan, B-Town celebs tweeted their heart out for one of India’s most illustrious politicians. “Deeply grieved at the passing of Jayalalita ji .. a strong woman”, tweeted Amitabh Bacchan.

The queen of southern India, J Jayalalithaa is among the most popular political figures in India. She was born in Mandya, Karnataka, in 1948 to Jayaram and Vedavalli in a Tamil Iyengar family. She lost her father when she was two years old and the responsibility of running the family fell on the shoulders of her mother. Starting early at a tender age of 12, she was trained in classical music and dance, while making her debut in 1961. Cinema, however, was just an initiation for a bigger role she delved into politics in 1982. MG Ramachandran (popularly known as MGR), considered one of the stalwarts of Tamil cinema, was a big influence on Amma. However, her closeness with the iconic MGR was a cause of concern for the upper echelons of the party and when she was packed to New Delhi as a Rajya Sabha MP in 1985, then several critics deemed it the demise of a pretty promising career. But destiny had other plans for Amma. The founder of AIADMK, MGR died in 1987 thus vacating the top post to a reluctant leadership. However, post the demise of MGR; she had tough times in politics. Especially, when not in power she was pounded by the opposition through litigation and numerous other cases.  But she displayed her strength by fighting against all the odds.

Taking a cue from her own childhood, she brought several initiatives and welfare schemes, especially for the welfare of women such as the entrepreneurship training for 100,000 women or the ‘cradle baby’ scheme. Jayalalitha came up with innovative ways to empower the stressed gender which made her a hugely popular leader.

Amma’s biggest win, in politics at least, was securing her legacy by getting her name cleared in the disproportionate assets case, Amma always found a way to prove her innocence. She was convicted in the 18-year-old case and was sent to jail in 2014 before a special bench of the Karnataka High Court acquitted her and her associates. She returned as the CM of Tamil Nadu in 2015 following her acquittal and became the CM for the fifth time after a thumping win in the 2016 assembly elections. She served three full terms as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, and one partial term, she passed away during her fifth term.

In the world of politics we often come across such great men and women that it takes an eternity to try and understand their life story. When a great personality dies, for years the light he or she leaves behind lies on the paths of its million of followers. No doubt, it’s a sad situation for across the southern state and India. Certainly, India has lost its one of the most charismatic leader.

by Ashwani Srvastava

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