8 Dec 2016


Jayalalithaa - Life Account Of An Actress Turned Politician

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and the AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa passed away at 11:30 pm on Monday at Apollo Hospitals in Chennai after suffering a cardiac arrest . She was laid to rest with full state honours on Thuesday at Marina Beach , Chennai next to her mentor MG Ramchandran. So here is a life account of the Iron Lady of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa.

Parents And The Early Life

Jayalalitha was born on 24 February 1948 at Pandavapura taluka, Mandya district, then in Mysore state(nowKarnataka) to Jayaram and Vedavalli in a Tamil Brahmin family .  Her name was derived from the names of two houses where she resided in Mysore, one was "Jaya Vilas" and the other "Lalitha Vilas". Jayalalithaa's father, Jayaram was a lawyer but never worked and squandered most of the family money. Her father died when she was 2 years old. Jayalalithaa and her widowed mother Vedavalli returned to her fathers home at Bangalore in 1950. While in Bangalore Jayalalitha attended Bishop Cotton Girls School. Jayalalithaa's mother learnt shorthand and typewriting so as to work as a clerk to support her family . Later in 1953 Vedavalli started acting films on the advice of her younger sister Ambujavalli and thus moved to Madras.  Jayalalitha remained under the care of her mother's sister Padmavalli and maternal grandparents from 1950 to 1958 in Mysore. After her aunts marriage in 1958 Jayalalithaa moved to Chennai and began to live with her mother. She completed her education at Sacred Heart Matriculation School where she won Gold State Award for coming first in 10th standard in the state of Tamil Nadu. She was fluent in many languages including tamil , telegu, hindi , kannada and english and malayalam. In Chennai Jayalalithaa learned classical dance forms including bharatanatyam, mohiniattam, manipuri and kathak she also trained in classical music and western classical piano. She became an accomplished dancer and gave her debut dance performance at the Rasika Ranjani Sabha in Mylapore in May 1960.

Film Career
In her childhood she acted in a Kannada language film Sri Shaila Mahathme. She played Krishna in a three-minute dance sequence held on stage in the Hindi film Manmauji (1962). Soon Jayalalitha while a schoolgirl began acting in some plays of Parthasarathy along with her mother and aunt. She acted in small roles in plays such as Tea House of the August Moon and Undersecretary between 1960 and 1964. Shankar Giri, the son of the former Indian President V.V Giri saw her small role in the English play Tea Houses of August Moon and was impressed. Shankar Giri approached her mother Sandhya and told he wanted to cast her daughter in an English film called The Epistle. Sandhya reluctantly agreed with the condition that shooting should be held only during weekends or school holidays.In 1964 Jayalalithaa accompanied her mother to a party related to a film where she was spotted by a director who then decided to cast her in a kannada movie chinnada gombe. He also promised to finish all the shooting within two months so as to not interfere with her studies.  Jayalalithaa had forgotten all about films after acting in her Kannada debut film and had got ready to attend classes at Stella Maris as she had an ambition to be a lawyer. But the Kannada debut film became a blockbuster in 1964 and she became a well-known face.By the end of 1965 she was quite popular among the producers and directors . It was during 1964 that the financial debts of her mother had increased too far so she asked Jayalalithaa to make use of the film offers coming her way to reduce the financial burden. She did her debut in Tamil film industry with the film Vennira Aadai. She was the first heroine in tamil industry to appear in skirts in films. She starred in 28 box-office hit films with the then superstar MG Ramchandaran.

Film Awards and Honours

Jayalalithaa had won Tamil Nadu State Film Award For BEst Actress 5 times. She received the title 'Nadippuku Ilakkium Vahuthuvar' and also won Tamil Nadu Cinema Fan Award for Best Actress for her 100th film in 1974. From 1968 to 1973 Jaya at peak of career took interviews and wrote columns in the magazines like Bommai.She wrote a column-Ennanga Selar in magazine Tughlaq in 1970s. She also wrote short story "Oravin Kaidhigal" for the magazine Kalki, Manadhdai Thotaa Malargal for Thaai magazine in early 1980s etc.[41] She wrote about her own life in a serialised memoir in the Tamil weekly magazine Kumudam.

Entry Into Politics 

Jayalalithaa joined AIADMK , party founded by MGR in 1982. In 1983, she became propaganda secretary for the party and was selected as its candidate in the by-election for the Tiruchendur Assembly constituency. Jayalalithaa was nominated and elected to Rajya Sabha in 1984 and retained her seat till 1989. In 1987 following the death of MGR teh party split into two factions, one supported her widow JAnaki Ramchandran and another one supported Jayalalithaa. But jayalalithaa lost to janaki as she gained the confidence of 96 members and was elected as the chief minister but Rajiv Gandhi used article 356 of the constitution of India to dismiss the government and apply president rule in the state . Jayalalithaa contested 1989 elections on the basis of being MGR political heir.
 1989 elections saw Jayalalithaa led faction of AIADMK win 27 seats and Jayalalithaa beacme the first woman to be elected as the leader of  opposition. Later in 1989 the two factions of AIADMK merged and accepted Jayalalithaa as their leader 

First term as Chief Minister
In 1991 AIADMK alliance with congress won 225 out of 234 seats contested and won all 39 constituencies at the centre. She was elected as the first female and the youngest Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and served full term. Her govenment introduced a series of measures to empower women and opened police stations solely operated by women and 30% quta for women in all police jobs. 

Loss of Power in 1996
AIADMK government lost power in 1996 elections when it won only 4 of the 168 seats they contested for.There were several corruption cases filed against her by the ruling DMK government headed by Karunanidhi. Jayalalitha was arrested on 7 December 1996 and was remanded to 30-day judicial custody. She was acquitted in the case on 30 May 2000 by the trial court and the High Court upheld the order of the lower court..

Second Term As Chief Minister
Jayalalithaa was barred from standing as a candidate in the 2001 elections because she was found guilty of criminal offences, including allegedly obtaining property belonging to a state-operated agency called TANSI. Although she appealed to the Supreme Court, having been sentenced to five years' imprisonment, the matter was not resolved at the time of the elections.[77] Despite this, the AIADMK won a majority and she was installed as Chief Minister as a non-elected member of the state assembly on 14 May 2001. Her appointment was legally voided in September 2001 when the Supreme Court ruled that she could not hold it whilst convicted of criminal acts.[77] O. Panneerselvam, a minister in her party, was subsequently installed as the Chief Minister.in March 2003, Jayalalithaa assumed the position of Chief Minister once more, having been acquitted of some charges by theMadras High Court[81] This cleared the way for her to contest a mid-term poll to the Andipatti constituency, after the sitting MLA for the seat, gave up his membership, which she won by a handsome margin. 

Third term as Chief Minister
In April 2011, the AIADMK was part of a 13-party alliance that won the 14th state assembly elections. Jayalalithaa was sworn in as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu for the third time on 16 May 2011, having been elected unanimously as the leader of the AIADMK party subsequent to those elections.

Disproportionate Assets Case Against Jayalalithaa
Jayalalithaa was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment and a fine of rs 100 crore in an 18 year old disproportionate case  by  the special court in Bangalore. Special Judge John Michael D'Cunha convicted her to owning assets to the tune of ₹66.65 crore. She was automatically disqualified from the post f CM and the legislative assembly of Tamil Nadu and was the first Indian chief minister to be disqualified. O. Panneerselvam, a minister in her party, succeeded her as the Chief Minister on 29 September 2014. On 17 October 2014, the Supreme Court granted her two months' bail and suspended her sentence. On 11 May 2015, a special Bench of the Karnataka High Court set aside her conviction on appeal, acquitting her and also her alleged associates.

Comeback as Chief Minister 
The acquittal allowed her once again to hold office and on 23 May 2015, Jayalalithaa was sworn in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for the fifth time. In a landslide victory, she polled more than 88 per cent votes of the 74.4 per cent turnout, winning by a margin of over 1.6 lakh votes.
In 2016 she was again elected as the chief minister with the margin of 35,545 votes against her DMK rival. 

In her career she recieved various awards and honours including Kalaimamani by govt. of Tamil Nadu in 1972 . She also recieved various honorary doctorates beginning from the University Of Madras in 1991.