Feb 24, 2024
Feb 24, 2024
The meteoric rise and abysmal fall of Jayalalithaa should be a lesson to many politicians in India. Jayalalithaa who had always been considered as a reluctant entrant into Tamil Nadu politics but because of the legendary actor turned politician MG Ramachandran proved after certain point that she is a force to reckon with in the Tamil Nadu politics. Her first tenure of 1991 to 1996 showed probably the true image of Jayalalithaa which had gone into the huge cloud of corruption and undue favoritism in politics and as a result voted out of power. Today, after 18 long years, the arms of justice had crushed her and punished her and her corrupt coterie with a severe punishment that could be the end of Jayalalithaa’s political career.
It is, in fact, unfortunate that Jayalalithaa with all her quality education, royal family background, multifaceted talents and linguistic abilities failed to prove that she is a shrewd politician. Her biggest weak point is her elephantine ego and despicable hubris. She always preferred to be at loggerheads with almost every leader of other parties whether it is national or regional. She can never listen or be loyal to anyone except the friendship of hers with a novice Sasikala (that too had its ‘on’ and ‘off’s) which ultimately had brought her this huge ignominy of losing her power, name and position today.
Jayalalithaa, though considered herself to be too intelligent for a politician never shared any cordial rapport with any of the national leaders or parties. Earlier, when she had alliance with the Congress after Rajiv’s assassination, she left Sonia Gandhi high and dry during electioneering and never even apologized. Later, after promising support for Vajpayee’s government she did not send the letter and made the government topple. She exhibited least regard for any of her contemporary leaders. Even her friendships and encounters with industrialists, educationalists or litterateurs are transitory and unpredictable. If she considers DMK chief Karunanidhi and his family as her ‘arch rivals’ others as ‘rivals’. The difference is only ‘that’.
For someone who had been blessed with three tenures of chief minister, her dragging legal battles seemed to have made no impact on her behavior or attitude. She had almost antagonized the entire press in Tamil Nadu and there is not a single vernacular or newspaper she had not sued for deformation.
Her policies and promises are many times range from ridiculous to impossible. Her ministers behave like vassals and felt no shame in singing (literally) paeans in the assembly or parliament. She unabashedly fanned the parochial feeling among the Tamils with her stand on Srilankan Issues and Hindi influence. She hardly has any political friends in the neighboring states like Andhra, Kerala or Karnataka. She never misses even the slightest opportunity to lambast them but never extended any friendly hand at any point of time.
She seemed to show a trace of camaraderie with Narendra Modi some time back but she quickly turned around before the recent hustings and started criticizing him strongly by screaming during electioneering by extending false figures on industrial development in Tamil Nadu comparing them to Gujarat and questioning the public ‘Who is better, Modi or this Lady(self!)’ and shouted ‘Make them lose their deposits’.
It may be a fact that she is a loner and her personal life might have had several setbacks. But, do they justify her being highly corrupt and highhanded? Her recent popularity among Tamil is because of the notoriety earned by her political rival DMK through family politics and 2G Scam and the endless freebies she keeps reeling off in recent times with a tag of ‘Amma’. Even before the ominous day of her verdict she introduced ‘Amma Cement’ which is supposed to cost lesser.
Today she enjoys the maximum support from the public of Tamil Nadu for different reasons. This was evident in the recent Lok Sabha election results. Probably, now she may engage a lawyer who can bail her out from the conviction with his expertise. Further, she is a strong believer of God and that may work in her favor. Still, the truth is now that she has been convicted and behind the bars. It can be argued that these are common as for as Indian Politics is concerned.
Jayalalithaa may come back as a phoenix or may not; but one thing is very sure. Notwithstanding her talents, Jayalalithaa seems to have learnt little from her tumultuous political journey; assuming if she is likely to learn in future, it may, perhaps, be too late.
More by : G Swaminathan
|Even thieves and thugs have admirers! Else how could they flourish in our blessed country?
|Thank You Julia Dutta for that detailed analysis of my writeup and sharing your views on Jayalalithaa. I appreciate your sentiments and observations. Yet, one cannot but wonder how a woman of Jayalalithaa's stature, power and popularity can indulge in activities with scant regard for the laws of the land and the position she had held.
I too feel sorry for her present condition and loss of face! Nevertheless, let us hope for the best!
I read with interest your article on Jayalalithaa and I must say at the onset that she will rise like a phoenix and return to her chamber and further, she will cut the neck of all those who dared even so much as whisper a word against her.
A talented artiste, actor, well-educated and eloquent in many languages, she has had to join her film career with reluctance, because, she saw what a career in films make a woman do to survive and earn her bread. She did not want to follow the same line, but was forced to by her mother, as you rightly said. Indeed, once in it, she did brilliantly, and also became MTR's keep. Until he died she was his keep and he rewarded her with a political career. She has done well there as well. With Re 1 as salary, she and her coterie and her beloved woman lover, Sasikalaa, looted the State coffers and offered to the poor and kept a lot themselves. Every politician, even the most uneducated, loafer, as India has many, loot the coffers of the State; why have to caught only Jayalilithaa? Why not the CWG massive looter Sheila Dishit? Why not Kalmadi?
She has shown the world that as a woman, she decides what she wants out of her life - whether it is living with a woman, or misuse of Tax-payers money, obnoxious growth of personal possessions and finances, she decides and if she has to pay the price for it, she will. But remember, she does not suffer fools and she knows that if there is punishment in this country, there are also loopholes in the system, she will use to save herself. Time will tell.
Tamil Nadu is India's most progressive State. By throwing away Brahminical regressive culture, and ushering in Dravidan culture and support of Dalits over Brahmins, TN has gone further to prove that the CM in Office a few days ago, had guts to live her lesbian relationship, out in the open, even as she had hoards of men eating out of her hand and worshiping her and the vast many who think they are their Amma. She has broken patriarchal set ups for personal life and that is a BIG winning streak in her.
Mind my words, she will return, sooner than we think she can. Jayalalithaa is not only a name, it is who she is.
A small correction - she is not born of royal blood; her grandfather was a doctor in in the Mysore Raja's Kingdom. I hope you don't want to draw of that fact to say that her mother was the Maharaja's keep? I am not sure what you mean.
With that I wish to say, I enjoyed reading your post very much.