As news broke on Monday late night Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa is no more, the Tamilian community in Bhopal went into shock. Despite living far away from their place of origin, they still retain close ties to their homeland, and all believed Amma, as Jayalalithaa is called, was the perfect person to head the state.
When HT spoke to a few of Tamilians in Bhopal on how ‘Amma’ has inspired them in their lives, they had interesting things to share.
“The most important characteristic of Jayalalitha was that she was action oriented. She never talked much. She was dominant but she worked. She has been a messiah for poor in Tamil Nadu, no wonder people support her this much. She has done an extra ordinary work for the state. One thing that makes her even more special is that she had controlled the entire officers’ cadre so well. It is very difficult to do that but every officer followed her instructions across the state and that is one of the reasons that people are fond of her,” says D Pughazhendhi.
Dr P Sasikala, professor, MCNUJC, says, “Her composed way of handling situations was the best thing about Jayalalitha. She never showed her expressions in public. Secondly, her continuous hard efforts to sustain in politics are commendable. She was thrown out so many times, but she returned with a bash. She also set up a bridge connecting bureaucracy and public. She won the trust of both and that is the sole reason that when the CM of a state like Tamil Nadu is hospitalized for almost 70 days, no government upheaval or catastrophe on public level took place. There was a fine administration even when she was hospitalized. Such a system can be seen hardly in any other state.”
V Mangala Prasad, a teacher, says, “She is an ideal for every young girl in Tamil Nadu. She is an inspiration to all. Anyone who has lived in TN would know her repute and following for the sole reason that she created a ‘system’ and no one had guts to break it. She has been strength to people there and it is disheartening to know she is no more.”
Bhopal has around 14,000 Tamilians and the Bhopal Tamil Association also held a prayer meet for Jayalalitha recently.
“I come from the village situated on the last coastal line of India. I was born and brought up there and now working in Bhopal but I visit my village every year. Jayalalitha was more than a politician in TN. In no other state in India one would find government canteens serving quality food in a Ruppee. In TN, after every 50 meters you would find that. And I have eaten in those eateries and was astonished. In our state we give laptops to meritorious students, in TN, every student who passes high school, gets a laptop. Her vision is unmatched in the whole country and I don’t think there can be any replacement of hers,” shares DR N Ganesh, incharge, dept of research, JNCHRC.
Former chief operating officer of HEG Ltd, Mandideep, K Vaidyanathan says, “She was among the most efficient administrators of the country. She has solved chronic issues in Chennai like water scarcity, poverty and other problems. We can see that taxes in Tamil Nadu are very low, the welfare budget is very high, education system is fairly managed and there is no upheaval from public front. She is considered like God there and no wonder she was. She has done so much for the poor there, be it infrastructure, education, employment, food, everything.”
General secretary, BTA, Jairamana Jailalitha says, “She is ‘Amma’ dignified and there is no replacement for her place. She has done what no minister would ever do for common man. We are shocked.”