Last night at 11:35 PM they announced that our sitting CM Ms. J. Jayalalitha has passed away after a 75-day battle in the hospital with various illnesses that culminated in a massive cardiac arrest. May her soul Rest in Peace! For 75 days, thousands of people have waited outside her hospital. Tens of thousands or probably millions were fasting, praying or following every news byte to get some information that could stoke the hopes in their heart that their beloved leader will come back to the helm soon in good health and cheer.
She was beloved by millions of people in Tamilnadu and elsewhere who followed her career exploits and victories as though it was their own. What was it that made her such a charismatic character and a larger than life persona? What was it that made her so loved and worshipped by millions? Why was she considered a leader whose shoes no one else can fill?
I don’t want to enter a debate on what she has done for the state, what more she could have done, etc etc. That could go on endlessly and depend on the speaker’s and the listener’s sensibilities and political and ideological leanings. But there are several things that stood out starkly in her favour and I would like to list a few of them that I admired in her.
- She had a never-say-die attitude that brought her back again and again from the brink of death both physical and political. She took a lot of punishment but was able to shake it off and rise again and again. Even Rocky would not have been able to do that.
- She was the perfect example of a survivor. She survived and ruled in a male dominated society and earned the grudging respect all those who had troubled her.
- She had tens of millions of people to believe in her vision and leadership. They stood behind her solidly to ensure that she succeeded again and again.
- The Amma canteen scheme was truly awesome since it has the potential to wipe out starvation. Food is a basic necessity and everyone should be able to eat in our world. Many states and countries have looked at replicating this model.
- She could have taken a much-deserved rest after all the medical issues she faced in the last 10 years but she chose to work and stay in the thick of the action.
I salute her indomitable spirit and her strength in the face of chronic and acute adversity. She is a shining example to all women on what they can do if they decide to stay focused and work on their dreams. She is a shining example to all mankind on how to shake off setbacks and problems and go beyond it to achieve success.
I’m grateful that I was privileged to witness the unfolding of the life story of our own Jhansi ka Rani. May her soul Rest in Peace.
Thank you for being such an inspiration and source of strength to millions.