Jayalalithaa Death Anniversary: Actress Turned Politician who became popular as Amma of Tamil Nadu


Jayalalithaa, the woman who was admired, respected, and loved by her followers like no one else, died a year ago on 5th December 2017. It’s been an entire year but the name is still worshipped in Tamil Nadu. From a studious girl to a talented actress and from an efficient politician to a role model, Amma had it all.

Jayalalithaa, the woman who was admired, respected, and loved by her followers like no one else, died a year ago on 5th December 2017. It’s been an entire year but the name is still worshipped in Tamil Nadu. From a studious girl to a talented actress and from an efficient politician to a role model, Amma had it all.

Jayalalithaa CM

Image Source: The Financial Express

It’s not surprising for politicians to be called out with nicknames from their followers. Particularly the women leaders like Mamata Banerjee and Mayawati who are into politics are respectfully called by names like ‘Didi’ and ‘Behenji’. Similarly, Jayalalithaa was admirably known as Amma which means mother in Hindi.

Let’s take a look at her journey in brief:

• At just 2 years old, Jayalalithaa’s father died which made it difficult for her mother to sustain the family. As a result, she had to live in Bangalore where she continued her studies.

• As a bright student, Jayalalithaa aspired to become a lawyer but her mother forced her to take a career in acting. After acting in Kannada and Tamil films, she was groomed by MG Ramachandran for her political journey.

Jayalalithaa Actress

• The real journey of Jayalalithaa as Amma began in 1991. During this time the state was fighting with issues like infanticide and female foeticide. To counter this issue, she launched ‘The Cradle Baby Scheme’ in 1992. The scheme was not only appreciated worldwide but emerged to be so successful that it helped her supporters to establish a strong emotional connection with her.

• She launched a series of schemes for supporting the poor and established the brand Amma. People recognized her not as a CM but like their mother. The state witnessed the launch of Amma Canteens, Amma Pharmacy, Amma Salt, and what not.

Jayalalithaa Cradle Scheme for baby girls

Image Courtesy: Sadda Haq

• Interestingly, when she first became the Chief Minister, she didn’t take any salary as she regarded it as her duty and not a job. She took just Rupee 1 as salary.

• Throughout her career, Jayalalithaa faced a lot of problems posed by the rival camps along with corruption charges. She even lost her position due to legal battles but managed to make a comeback, twice.

Jayalalithaa left behind a bunch of assets and properties in her name which is yet to be settled. Her property is classified into 3 different categories. One which she owned before becoming the Chief Minister in 1991, another property she acquired in her 1991-1996 term which was confiscated and lastly the property which she acquired after 1996.

There are movable assets including 28kg gold and diamond jewelry locked up in the Karnataka court locker and immovable assets that are worth more than 1,000 Crores now. As she didn’t leave any will behind her, her assets are being claimed by multiple potential claimants and the settlement is going to be quite tedious amidst the legalities.