Many of my friends had posted status saying that amma expired. I was stumped for a minute to figure out who are they referring to. Such is the power of mother sentiment and in a state full of emotionally charged people, a good tongue and a relatable role is all you need. History stands witness to the Guinness record turnout for Annadurai’s final farewell. No wonder the leader was easily related to men and womenfolk alike by his title “Anna (big brother)”. MGR lived and ruled by his onscreen charm and off screen charity works that were well publicized. Amma stumped all, despite being at the receiving end of the law many a times. Her last term at office, saw her becoming more populist in her schemes and hence more popular as well. True to the adage, people of TN may forget those who paid them money, but they revere those who fed them. The canteens that she opened, were the standout yesterday, when every other shops and hotels were closed but for them. Be it of her manifest or a calculated move by her loyalists, her branding went on a maniacal spree towards the end of her term, with her face becoming the government insignia. To me personally, her biggest achievements is not a repeat term at office, ala her mentor, nor her’s being the 3rd largest party at center. Not even her schemes. But the way she held on to her party men and her position after stinging defeats. In a system which is male dominated and more importantly guided by power centers, she not just managed to held sway after embarrassing losses, but managed to come back stronger and win back stronger. Considering the hordes of weeping women, her biggest bunch of supporters, they probably saw in her a superstar of their own, who made men bend before her, who held power like no other lady before and probably ever after. She was the shining example for womenfolk of what levels they can reach if they truly believe and stand up for themselves. Even her worst detractors can’t help marvel at her iron will and determination to stand by her point and her sense of execution. No one loved power more and nor was anyone more loved by power itself.
In a world full of clichés, she was the very antonym of it. Nothing could be more ironic and poetic in justice than the fact that, the very place where she was shunned from the convoy of her mentor, she rose to power and at the very place her final journey commenced amidst, truly and honestly shed tears of bereavement. The aftermath of her demise has created a political black hole for TN, which for past 4 decades have only witnessed 3 people ruling the state within themselves. There is an opportunity to take a fresh new dynamic and honest path to set a track for themselves or as the majority dreads, it could be chaos unforeseen before. A very famous dialogue from a blockbuster movie comes to mind – “Tamilians may be emotional fools. But never do they trust a leader quickly. If they do, never do they give up on them easy. There have been millions of followers cheated by their leaders but seldom a case otherwise”. Hope we get to witness a new dawn.
All said and done and dread, it’s a time for mourning and that’s what it should be.