My mobile flashed. “She is dead and this time it is irrevocable”; said dad’s pun intended text message. After all the media tantrums about Amma being dead and coming back to life several times, dad finally confirmed that she is really dead. The only little perks of dad being in the press are that I get breaking news a little earlier. Since yesterday evening, the way media is fostering her accomplishments and her life, her path to righteousness and so on, I’m pretty sure she’ll attain sanctity after death. But does she really deserve it?
|Even Superman is Amma fan!|
I don’t know much about her past and since I grew up in the early and late 90s, I’ve been hearing/following her only from the past decade. If she has done very noble deeds in the pre 90s, by virtue of which she is getting this sainthood, then probably I am off beam. But I don’t believe that is any true. She was never a great admirer of democracy. I have always seen her narcissistic conduct in front of media, in party meetings and many other public forums. Not just common man, she made even the ministers in her own cabinet fall on her feet “literally” and receive blessings. Although my TN friends tried to convince me that they did it out of pure respect for her, I fairly disagree to it. Oh! Come on. In a democracy like India, there are lots of other ways to show benevolence to your superiors. Amma in locket, Amma in wedding ring, Amma’s picture in wedding card instead of bride, I mean that is ridiculous! Above all, Irony committed suicide when O Panneerselvam kept her picture in the Chief Minister’s armchair during her prolonged illness and he sat next to it giving public statements that Amma is still the Chief Minister and that I am just following her orders. Her dictatorship made Tamil Nadu a totalitarian state which in other words is a great blow to democracy.
|O Panneerselvam taking blessings from Amma|
Coming to her arrogance, the whole world knows about it. It was like she always flaunted arrogance and displayed it, carried it with her in forums where it was totally uncalled for. That stance of her only showed her self-importance. I do not know why people called her voice of aam aadmi and sensationalized the whole interview when she ruthlessly ill-behaved in a TV interview with Karan Thapar. I’m not a Karan Thapar admirer. But according to me that was a premeditated way of winning confidence of certain section of the society; an opening that gave her secured access to votes of particular class of people and nothing more. She was accused of changing ministers in her cabinet who was against her strategies and ideals. I’ve also heard from many that Nepotism was at peak in entire TN State during her tenure as chief minister.
|Amma is in supporter's heart!|
She openly accused Marans and DMK of corruption but herself had few cases against her. Among them, funds misappropriation and disproportionate asset cases gained national importance. When she was acquitted, she came back with more power and egotism and she used it to further her authority in the state and national politics. My memories of how public life was thrown out of gear whenever she visited Bangalore for case hearings with Z grade security is still afresh in my mind. When Chennai had severe floods and relief material was sent, her supporters stamping every relief bag with stickers of Amma spoke volumes on how much power hungry and autocratic she was. Her conceited image was actually celebrated by many subordinates and followers across her state.
I believe even for the native Tamilians and their economy, she has done more harm than good by giving freebies to secure more votes. Every Amma supporter in the state of Tamil Nadu state today has a color TV, mixer grinder, Laptop and many more things to lead a comfortable life and they even get a sumptuous meal for just 10 bucks, thanks to Amma canteen. But on the other side, in the name of freebies, TN’s debt has increased to more than 2 lakh crore. Currently TN’s fiscal deficit is at 40,000 crore.
|Ksheerabhishekam (milk bath) for Amma by her supporters|
But why media is sensationalizing her death by calling her “Iron Lady”, “Lady who broke Gender barriers”, Revolutionary leader” and so on? If death can obliterate all the terrible deeds of 60 years of one’s life, what is the difference between a true saint’s life and hers? Does she really deserve it? It is for us to decide. This whole thing reminds me of a saying which I read somewhere:
Death changes everything… Time changes nothing!
Image courtesy: ThUnrealTimes and Indiatimes
Image courtesy: ThUnrealTimes and Indiatimes