“The sweetest smile holds the most mysteries.” This aptly fits for our former CM Dr. Jayalalithaa. After all these years of public life, she is still an mystery, a multi-layered phenomenon. It’s no wonder that today when she passed away after a cardiac arrest, almost the whole Tamil Nadu has come to a virtual standstill. The whole state has held its breath. This only can happen with a legend, and who can be a legend if Jayalalitha is not one.
A “Thalaivi”, indeed.
Jayalalithaa – She is the lady with many names apart from her given one. People call her “Amma” and for her political followers she is “Puratchi Thalaivi”.. She gave herself a pseudonym name, “Thai” under which she used to write for Tamil Magazines.
“Makkalal naan, makkalukkaga naan” – the slogan which she stood with, in her career.
The control she had over her party is something each and everyone who wants to be a leader should learn from. People might think that control as, imperialism and slavery. But still, she made them all kneel infront of her and she held all their strings and made them her puppets, which is awesome for a woman in the world of political wolves. She was a born leader. I read that during her initial film career, whenever MGR enters the set, everyone used to stand as a sign of respect for him. But Jayalalitha was the only person who used to do whatever she was doing.. She raised against all the odds placed in front of her during her whole career, be it film or political.
Her journey from Ammu to Amma is something which as a woman, I’m proud of. I’m happy that I get to live in her period and saw her actions in real life rather than knowing from stories. Though so many people saw her as an enemy, EVERYONE was proud of her.. She’s considered the Lioness in the political world and Goddess for her followers.
One of my favorite quotes by her is, “ I am a self-made woman. Politics has for long been a male bastion. Mrs. Indira Gandhi changed all that, but still you must remember that Mrs. Indira Gandhi had all the inbuilt advantages. She had the advantage of being born in the [Nehru Family].”
Rest in Peace Puratchi Thalaivi!!!
Here’s a look back at some of her greatest achievements as CM
The Mullaperiyar dam:
The Supreme Court in its May 2, 2014 verdict had held that the 120-year-old dam is safe and allowed Tamil Nadu to raise the water level to 142 feet. The dam located in Thekaddy is owned and operated by the Tamil Nadu government. The court’s judgement was considered a ‘sweet victory’ for the state and the increase in water levels greatly helped the agricultural communities.
This is probably one the most innovative welfare schemes introduced by the late CM. Under her rule, the government rolled out a plethora of welfare schemes like free laptops for students, canteens with subsidized food called Amma Unnavagam for the homeless. Apart from the mid-day meal scheme, Jaya introduced breakfast meals across government schools.
Stabilized power situation
Rampant power cuts were a major problem in villages across the state. Remote areas would experience load shedding for more than 12 hours. Several small industries were on the verge of shutting down owing to poor power supply. Jayalalithaa in her second consecutive term tackled this problem by giving a strong push to solar energy. The government also provided 200-750 units of free electricity to handloom and power loom weavers.
Global Investors Meet
In the two day Global Investors Meet event held on September 2015, the Tamil Nadu government attracted close to Rs 2.42 lakh crore in investments. Jayalalithaa was lauded for ensuring huge investments.
Library turned children’s hospital
Anna Centenary Library was established by former Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi. During Jayalalithaa’s tenure as CM, she took the initiative to turn it into a children’s hospital. In 2011 she had announced a proposal to convert the new legislature and secretariat complex into a multi-specialty hospital and medical college.
Gold scheme for women
She introduced the ‘Thallikku Thangam’ scheme to provide gold for mangal sutra and also financial assistance for conducting a marriage ceremony. According to the government website, 4 grams of gold with Rs 25,000 towards marriage assistance have been given to 86,676 educated poor women.
In her tenure as CM she cut down the number of liquor outlets and ordered for the closure of 500. The shop timings altered from 10 am to 12 noon. While other parties called in for a total ban on TASMACs (Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation), Jayalalithaa pushed for a phased prohibition.
Tamil Nadu experiment with the alternative water conservation technique of rain water harvesting (RWH) is a rare success story. The RWH scheme, a brainchild of Jayalalithaa, was launched in 2001 in the parched state despite opposition from many people. The CM made RWH mandatory for all government and residential buildings. The scheme soon helped people in water-starved regions such as Chennai by raising water tables in most neighbourhoods.
The Cradle Baby Scheme
The ‘cradle baby’ scheme, another brainchild of late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in 1992 was initiated to battle female infanticide. The project which started in 1992 runs in towns and villages across Tamil Nadu. In this scheme parents are allowed to anonymously hand over newborns to Cradle baby centres. They are well equipped with life saving drugs, bed sheets and gas connections and other facilities. The centres have been set up in various districts across Tamil Nadu like, Madurai, Theni, Dindigul, Dharmapuri, Erode and Namakkal.
The Jayalalithaa government in 2003 banned sale of all lotteries, including online, within the territory of the state, despite the risk of the state losing revenue. Dreaded poacher and sandalwood smuggler Veerappan was also killed when she was in power though it would be unfair to give the entire credit to her for the killing.
Only Death that made people realize how much she meant to the people and what she was to those who took advantage of her…