Thursday, December 8, 2016

Half mast

It has been over 48 hours since the ailing Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu breathed her last at a Chennai hospital, but many parts of the city seem to be in mourning still. Even the airport seemed to be deserted last evening; the usual jockeying of vehicles, to be ahead of the rest in the queue, seemed to be desultory at best.

All that was because of J. Jayalalithaa, whose impact on the country's psyche seemed disproportionate to her political presence at the national level. It is difficult for an outsider to comprehend the hold she had on the person-on-the-Tamil Nadu-street; the editorial in yesterday's The Hindu gives you glimpses of why. But it is well nigh impossible to describe an image crafted over 4 decades and more to be encapsulated into a few sheets of newsprint.

The national flag at Chennai airport is flying at half mast. That is because the state has announced a 7-day official mourning for its former Chief Minister. "Former", only because she is not around any longer. But for millions of Tamil Nadu, she will always be their "Nirandhara Mudalvar" (perennial Chief Minister)!

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