The leader who walked alone…

Gurdeep Singh Sappal


Obituary to Jayalalithaa from the CEO’s Desk, Rajya Sabha TV

Jayalalithaa is no more.

She was a benevolent monarch delivered by democratic processes. She successfully obliterated the difference between populism and welfare measures.

She was an autocrat, yet she was not just loved, but was venerated, revered and adulated.

Considered administrator par-excellence, she actually dominated the structures of administration, diluted their institutional strengths, made them subservient and then made them deliver.

She was a woman who mastered the art of bridging contradictions – A lonely woman who could be ‘Amma’ to millions… A nubile actress who could transcend the femininity… An educated liberal who could be aristocratic.

And in my own personal opinion, she was first of the woman trinity that completes with Maya and Mamata. Three women, and Indira Gandhi before them, survived and then lorded over the male dominated politics and political structures.

Could all of them ever manage it without an air of arrogance and contempt? I think they all employed eccentricity, idolatry, conviction and unpredictability as powerful weapons to demolish the patriarchal social structures and emerge victorious.

Jayalalithaa should not be seen only as a Tamil giant. She is also a successful interregnum towards a gender neutral polity in India. She has a place in history.