The former actress and Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, J Jayalalitha, ruled this wonderful state for more than 15 years, before her untimely and mysterious death a few months ago on 6th December, 2016. A lot of people in Tamil Nadu love her and that is why she was elected over four times. She was a queen and an iron lady who bowed to know one. She kept the right-wing fanatics at bay and cemented her position as the “supreme leader.”
She sounds cool, doesn’t she? She was cool….. except for the fact that she was also corrupt and she allowed corrupt people to flourish under her rule. Of course, prior to her rule the corruption was at a grander scale. So I guess we, the people of Tamil Nadu, should be happy that corruption happened at a lesser scale during her rule. I never voted for her party when she was alive and I never will vote in the future. The woman was corrupt. But I cried like a child when she passed away. I sat in front of the TV for a whole day and watched her funeral procession, her body being lowered into her grave, all her old speeches, and I cried and cried and cried. I even sat with my grandmother, who was her big fan, and watched Jayalalitha’s old movies and songs from the 1960s and 70s. In fact, I just discovered a Facebook page in dedication to her and my eyes were filled with tears when I went through her photos and her quotes. I don’t quite understand this. What is this new-found love that I have for this lady? I agree that I did have a soft corner for her even when she was alive because I always admired her boldness, and her leadership qualities. But still, how come my eyes moisten when I think about her even now?
My mind goes back to the Facebook post that I wrote a few weeks after the lady’s death. I wrote that what happened was for the good of this state’s people. I believe that the two cyclones that damaged this state in 2015 and 16, and this death has united the people more than ever. This unity led to the popular Jallikattu uprising. If those two cyclones and Jayalalitha’s death hadn’t happened, the Jallikattu protests would never have occurred. People learned how to use Facebook and Whatsapp to unite when those cyclones struck, and the protests were organised from the lessons that were learned. And the “Iron Lady” of Tamil Nadu would have crushed those protests if she had been alive. “Not on my watch,” she would have said. But then, people wouldn’t have protested in the first place if she was alive. We took matter into our own hands because we have this feeling of insecurity after her death. There is this great power struggle happening to consolidate power, and the dormant right-wing fanatics have started wagging their tails in her absence. All this makes us even more insecure. We have always been having this feeling of insecurity about the safety of our language and culture and this feeling has only been heightened now. But I believe everything is interconnected. All of this happened for a reason.
What is it that is happening to us humans? I am not sure. Ours is a strange existence with a paradoxical history and we have tried to comprehend it by giving it various meanings. But what is the truth behind it all? Only time will tell. But there is no guarantee that we will live to see it.
The Paradoxical Paradox (or I just realised I like the word paradox):
In Tamil, there is a saying — “Yellam Nanmaikkey!” This could be roughly translated as: Everything that happens is for good or Everything happens for a good reason. Or something like that. This leads us to some very interesting questions and thoughts. I mean, think about all the tragedies that have happened on this planet so far. Are you telling me that all of that happened for good? I am not an atheist, so this allows me to think further about this question. Of course, we are yet to understand the human mind completely, we can neither understand God’s mind nor his plans. Do we even possess the kind of mind that it takes to understand God’s mind? No. We can only guess. So what is it that I am guessing here?
I think that that saying is true, everything that happens is for a good reason. This is going to offend a lot of people. Maybe even the British occupation of India happened for a good reason? It did result in the death of a lot of people, our wealth being plundered, and other injustices, but still, maybe it is for the good. What about the horrendous caste system? That too happened for the good? The caste system has caused and is still causing a lot of injustices in this country. It should never have happened, and if I could travel back in time I would travel back to stop it from happening. But, what good has the caste system caused in this society? I could think of nothing. A lot of people in India have managed to preserve their “pure” blood lines. Is that any good? I don’t know. The holocaust happened for a good reason too? The US butchering the middle east in the name of freedom and democracy is good too? If we want to believe that “Everything that happens is for good,” then we should also be ready to believe that all these injustices happened for a good reason as well. Maybe we will see the good at a later point in time. Will we? Or maybe we never will, but our grandchildren will see it one day, I guess. Life is so unfair, isn’t it? I don’t understand life, I don’t even understand myself at times. Things seem so strange, and meaningless.
What you should do
What does this mean? Does this mean that you should sit back and watch as life unfolds? Should you silently observe God’s plans regardless of how cruel the events are? Of course, we think it is cruel, but it happens for a good reason, I am sure (I guess). But still…… it doesn’t feel right, does it? I think we should fight back. We should fight against all injustices even if that means us losing our lives. Aren’t we just little dust motes stuck to this bigger dust mote called Earth flinging around recklessly in this dark vacuum? I think at the end of the day, us fighting against all injustices is also part of God’s plan.