- The news has been full of the extreme reactions that people have had upon pronouncement of the guilty verdict and jail term for ex Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa. Protests, unique demonstrations, self immolation attempts in public to actual deaths have followed the court’s decision in the disproportionate assets case.
- The mass hysteria that erupted after the sentencing of the ex CM is well documented – shaving of heads, mass rolling on the road, eating food straight off the ground, public grieving and so on have taken place. Social media protests, silent fasts and road roko demonstrations have also been reported (read more at India Opines). But how much of this is the spontaneous outpouring of emotion and how much is manufactured or appropriated to demonstrate a certain image of the leader more popularly known as Amma?
- There have been reports that many of the so called ‘suicides’ committed by the supposedly devastated Amma fans weren’t suicides at all; that natural deaths have been appropriated to swell the numbers of the individuals who have allegedly made the ultimate sacrifice to protest against Jaya’s incarceration.
- AIADMK leaders most certainly have a vested interest in promoting the idea that the people of the state of Tamil Nadu are so devoted to Amma that no gesture, no sacrifice is too big to make. There are reports about largesse being doled out for those who have made the supreme gesture of doing away with themselves. Compensations in the amount of Rs 3 lakh has been announced for the next of kin.
- Cash compensation has been announced for all those who have lost a family member either by way of suicide or because of death from natural means such as cardiac arrest stemming from extreme shock. There are reports that several people have taken undue advantage of the party’s announcement as well. (Source – One India)
- By all accounts, Amma herself, deeply aggrieved that people have committed suicide for her, has announced that Rs 3 lakh each will be paid to the families of each of the 193 people who gave up their lives. A Rs 50,000 relief amount is also announced for those party workers who are struggling for survival in hospital. (Source – Indian Express)
- The problem here is that the AIADMK seems to have appropriated death numbers to further their own agendas. Among the 193 deaths that have allegedly occurred because people have willingly committed suicide or because they have gone into shock so severe that this resulted in a fatal stroke or cardiac arrest, which deaths are genuine? Are these numbers falsified just to promote the goddess like image that Amma has in the state?
- And as nitizens have been asking on Twitter and other social media platforms, the dole offered for the dead in this case – does this not amount to promoting suicide? Will more people go ahead and immolate, hang or poison themselves, saying they have done this for Amma, when in fact the reasons may be completely different? There is the lure of a sizeable cash prize for giving up one’s life after all! As one tweet put it so succinctly –
— JOHN (@Zaidi_United) October 20, 2014
Image source – The Hindu