’68’, AMMA AND TAMIL NADU: BAAHUBALI TO ‘AMMA’NADU

“68 is the natural number following 67 and preceding 69. It is an even number.” – that is what the Wikipedia page on the number 68 says. There is nothing much else on the page except some technical information that, for most, is like filling a page entry somehow.

And here comes this development in this time of need. The editors or writers of the page should take note of the dominance of the number ’68’ in Tamil Nadu now – to put some interesting stuff there (on the page) – as the number has become the most important symbol of a populous Indian state – with wide display today.

Today is the day when ’68’ has become synonymous with Tamil Nadu – a state of some ’68’ million people – a state, that in turn, gives feelers that it has become synonymous with J. Jayalalithaa, its chief minister since her sweeping re-election in 2011 and her comeback to the throne in May 2015 after the Karnataka High Court acquitted her in the disproportionate assets case.

Jayalalithaa had assumed the office for the third term in 2011 and since then her party AIADMK has swept every election in Tamil Nadu including the last Lok Sabha polls in 2014. And it is when her DA case is decades old and it was not the first time in 2014 when she was disqualified and barred from the political office. Something similar had happened in 2001 when she was barred from contesting the polls after she was found guilty in the TANSI land deal case which was overturned later.

When we see the political history of Tamil Nadu – it has been between these two parties – DMK and AIADMK – and time has been fair about listening to both of these parties.

But, it seems the Amma times are here to stay this time. It is being expected that AIADMK will be able to decimate every opposition in the upcoming assembly polls later this year.

And its echoes are already here – with the ascendance that the number ’68’ saw today.

Let’s see the colourful elements:

The first and the foremost things is the great coincident – Jayalalithaa at ’68’ has a Tamil Nadu of some ’68’ million people.

Tamil Nadu, (it seems the whole state), is celebrating Jayalalithaa’s birthday in a grand style – in an electoral year – (obviously we all can see through the acts and through the kaleidoscope) – but here we are talking about the colours.

AIADMK workers and supporters organized functions for ’68’ mass-wedding ceremonies across the state. The couples wore an interesting headgear with Amma’s photograph like a crown jewel.

At AIADMK office in Chennai, a ’68’ Kg cake was cut. Huge cakes were prepared in different parts of Chennai and in the state.

’68’ lakh trees were to be planted across the state. Reports further said that these saplings were to be planted in ‘6868’ temples across the 32 districts of Tamil Nadu.

’68’ medical camps were organized and blood donation drives were held across the state.

Special ‘poojas’ were performed in 122 temples across the state to pray for the long life of Amma. Special cow worship and cow donation drives were held. Women members of AIDMK performed a ‘pooja’ – carrying milk pots on head while visiting temples and praying.

All Amma canteens of Chennai served free meals today. Across the state, community lunches were organized.

Cleaning of water bodies across the state was carried out. South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce donated lamps.

It was announced that every girl child born today in every hospital run by the Chennai city corporation would be given a donation of Rs. 10,000.

An AIADMK lawmaker announced that he would ‘gift’ gold ring to every child born today in North Chennai.

Some AIADMK leaders presented before us adventurous shows of floating on water while praying for Amma’s long life.

AIADMK leaders and Jayalalithaa supporters made it a point to flaunt Jayalalithaa tattoos – with her face, name or taglines carved.

Distribution of Amma brand of products were done free of cost across the state – with Amma soaps, Amma shampoo and other products on display. Goodies like sewing machines, television sets, sarees, dhotis, school notebooks, etc., were donated liberally.

Rallies were held across the state with huge fireworks planned for the evening.

And this is when Jayalalithaa didn’t make any personal appearance today. She didn’t come out and say thanks to her followers and fans.

Amazing! Subtle! God like! The celebrations are expected to last till weekend. But expect the continued run in the context of the electoral symbolism of all these activities.

Jayalalithaa’s 68th birthday made Tamil Nadu – ‘Amma Nadu’. Jayalalithaa’s party has tried to scale ‘her cult’ from ‘momentous to monumental’ – from her ‘Baahubali’ incarnation during the Chennai floods of November-December last year – floods that had battered the whole state badly – killing over 500 people – rains and floods that are considered among the costliest natural disaster of 2015.

Welcome to the kaleidoscope the South Indian politics is – totally person centric – going to the extent even to erect temples and offer worship.

The number ’68’ had never things going so good – to offer so much – so much to brag about – so much to write about. The Wikipedia editors must take this into consideration and act immediately.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

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