The chief minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa passed away on Monday night due to cardiac arrest after a 75-day battle for life at the Apollo Hospital here, bringing to an end of an eventful journey of the film star-turned-politician who straddled public life in the southern state for over three decades.
Jayalalithaa, 68, who was admitted to Apollo Hospital on September 22 with complaints of fever and dehydration, soon developed complications after she suffered chest congestion, lung infection and heart malfunction.
Let’s travel through time and have a glimpse into the life of Amma:-
FEBRUARY 24, 1948 : A Messiah is Born
Jayalalithaa is born in Melukote, in what was then Mysore State, presently in the state of Karnataka, to Jayaram and Vedavalli.
From 1950 to 1964: Fight with Adversity
After the death of her father Jayaram in 1950. Her mother took Jayalalithaa and her brother to live with her parents in Bangalore.
In 1952 , Jayalalithaa and her brother remain with her aunt in Bangalore as her mother, Vedavalli, moves to Madras to find a job. Jayalalithaa goes to the elite Bishop Cottons Girls School. Vedavalli starts acting in plays, and subsequently films, under the stage name ‘Sandhya’, which she is still known by.
In 1958, Jayalalithaa moves to Madras to live with her mother, after her aunt gets married. She is enrolled in the elite Sacred Heart Presentation Convent, popularly known as Church Park, where she excels in academics. She is also trained in Carnatic music and Bharatanatyam and Kathak.
In 1964, She makes her film debut in a lead role in ‘Chinnada Gombe’ a Kannada film. To support her debt-ridden family, Jayalalithaa gives us on her dreams of becoming a lawyer and plunges into the film industry.
1965:The MGR connection
Jayalalithaa’s Tamil film debut comes in the landmark blockbuster hit, ‘Venniraadai’. In the same year, she stars in a film, ‘Aayirathil Oruvan’, with Tamil cinema’s biggest star MG Ramachandran (MGR) for the first time, to begin what remains among the most successful screen pairings in Tamil cinema, as well as one of the most critical relationships in her life.
1970: The Separation
Around this year, due to pressure from his party colleagues, MGR starts acting with other heroines and Jayalalithaa pairs up with other heroes. For around 10 years, this ‘separation’ continues.
1982:Star turned into Politician
In 1982, she becomes an AIADMK party member. Addresses her first public gathering in Cuddalore, a town in northern Tamil Nadu. Her speech, titled Pennin Perumai (greatness of women), is a huge success.
1983-1984:Ascending towards Political Career
Appointed as party’s propaganda secretary and campaigns for AIADMK in the Thiruchendur by-election. And in 1984,She is elected to the Rajya Sabha, as MGR wants her there for her fluency in English and knowledge of several languages. She remains a member of the Rajya Sabha till 1989. She becomes a key campaigner for the AIADMK as the party wins a massive election victory despite MGR remaining hospitalized through the campaigning. Her rising prominence irks senior hands in the party. Her attempt to be named interim CM also does not go well with MGR.
1987: MGR’s Death
MGR dies, leaving no clear political heir. AIADMK descends into chaos over his legacy. Jayalalithaa competes with his widow Janaki for control of the party. The party splits into two major factions, one behind each woman.
MARCH 25, 1989: Trial by fire
A day that changed the future course of Tamil Nadu politics.
There are several versions of what happened inside the assembly hall that day, but the most accepted version is that Jaya keeps interrupting then CM Karunanidhi’s budget speech, repeating the word ‘criminal’. Karunanidhi returns the favor by hurling cuss-words at her, following which an AIADMK MLA lunges at him. Leaders start hitting each other and pandemonium ensues. When she tries to exit the assembly, DMK minister Durai Murugan attempts to disrobe Jayalalithaa. She cries foul to the media, swearing to step inside the assembly again only as the chief minister. This incident unites the AIADMK supporters behind a cause — defeating the DMK govt.
1991: Amma as Chief Minister and fulfilling the Pledge
The elections bring an astounding victory for the AIADMK-Congress alliance, which wins 225 seats out of possible 234. DMK is humiliated, wins only two seats. Jaya becomes chief minister for the first time.
From 1996 to 2000:Era of Election Loss, Battling cases and Prison
She faces a rout in the elections, with the AIADMK winning only 4 seats. Loses her assembly seat from Bargur, as Karunanidhi returns. Spends close to a month in prison. Around 48 cases of varying charges are slapped on her, her aide Sasikala, Sasikala’s family, several IAS officers and ministers.
From 2001 to 2005: Amma Returns
AIADMK rides back to power with a massive mandate, helped by a mega alliance and DMK’s personal attacks on her that make her appear as a ‘victim’ of false cases. But Jaya herself is barred from contesting by the Election Commission due to the pending 12 corruption cases. Even then, her party appoints her as CM, only to have her unseated by an SC order. O Paneerselvam warms the CM seat, awaiting her return.After the Madras high court clears her on some counts in 2003, she is allowed to contest elections. An AIADMK MLA resigns and she wins from Andipatti, becomes CM again.
From 2006 to 2011:Playing Role of Opposition
In 2006 her party suffered a huge loss and made her out of government. People mandate compelled her to sit in opposition.
From 2011 to 2016: Third term as CM,Unending horror of Legal Cases and Illness
In 2011 election AIADMK alliance registers a massive win by taking 203 seats, DMK alliance reduced to 31 seats. Jaya becomes CM for the third time. On September 27, 2014, Lower Court convicts her in the disproportionate assets case and sentences her to four years in prison with a Rs 100 crore fine. O Paneerselvam again takes her place ‘temporarily’.She spends a month in prison and gets bail.
On September 22, 2016, she was admitted to Apollo Hospital with complaints of fever and dehydration.
December 05,2016: Jayalalitha dies and an era of iconic leadership ended.
After 74 days of hospitalization , Tamil Nadu’s Iron Lady Jayalalithaa Jayaraman dies. Her death sparks an outpouring of grief among thousands of her supporters gathered outside the Apollo Hospital in Chennai.