Indians mourn the death of “Amma” as gloomy scenes are witnessed in Chennai
On Monday, one of the most iconic women in modern India finally breathed her last and on Tuesday she defied conventionalism for one last time as she buried instead of being cremated, the norm in Hindu cultural and religious traditions.
Jayalalithaa, 68, was under treatment at the Apollo Hospitals for nearly the past 3 months until she succumbed to a fatal cardiac arrest on Sunday which put her on life support until she departed this world late on Monday Night.
As news of her death was announced by the Apollo Hospitals Management, condolences flowed from all over the world which included celebrities, politicians, and the general public, showing her vast outreach to millions many of whom referred her to as “Amma” meaning Mother.
She was the current chief minister of Indian State of Tamil Nadu at the time of her death after which O Panneerselvam was sworn in on the vacant post.
She has had a very diverse career ranging from her momentous career as an actress who dominated the screen space in the 1960s, working in more than 140 films to being elected as the General Secretary of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), a post which she held with élan till her death yesterday.
Hailed as one of the most powerful women in Indian Politics, which is dominated by males, Jayalalithaa lay in state in a large public hall where thousands poured to pay their last respects to the politician as the body was swanked by Indian Prime Minister Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee.
There was fear that her death would lead to unrest and disorder due to public reacting to the death of their leader. Extra police contingents were summoned to control the crowds who surprisingly passed by with ease despite numbering in thousands. Pockets of isolated incidents of unrest were reported but nothing major happened.
Her funeral procession passed through Marine Drive, Chennai and was followed by millions on its last journey to the Kamarajar Salai, where her political guru and the man who introduced her to mainstream politics, MG Ramachandran was interred previously. Her grave was found lying beside that of MGR.
The highlights of her political career would lie on two things, the first being the champion women’s rights and making Tamil Nadu a viable entity in the Indian economic sphere. There is undying support for her by her followers and they believed they wouldn’t find someone like her anytime soon.