‘Iron Lady’ Jayalalithaa inspiration for women, say Tamils in US

"She is like the legendary bird Phoenix," said one Tamilian describing the late Chief Minister.

By: PTI | Washington | Published:December 7, 2016 1:16 pm
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The legacy of “Iron Lady” J Jayalalithaa will be remembered forever as she has left a huge void in Indian politics, Indian-American Tamils have said with the diaspora condoling her demise and grieving the loss of their beloved leader. “The legacy of the Iron Lady, as she is fondly remembered by many, who had rocked Indian politics, will be remembered forever. None has shown the courage which Jayalalithaa evinced in her political life,” Dr Rajan Natarajan, who served as the Deputy Secretary of State in Maryland and now serving as the Commissioner of Transportation, said.

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“An authoritarian, a visionary and a leader full of guts and grit, she has left a huge void in Indian Politics. ‘Amma’ (mother), as she was always fondly referred to by the masses, she is indeed a mother of many comebacks in her political life,” Natarajan, the first Indian-born Tamil American who served in the highest administrative position in US history, said yesterday.

While he was serving as the chief diplomat of Maryland, Natarajan had several opportunities to interact and work with Jayalalithaa’s cabinet and her government officials on many projects like Sister State, education, energy, transportation, and medical technologies.

Upon her invitation, he had led a 20-member business delegation from the US and participated at the Global Investor Summit in 2015. It was his first opportunity to meet with Jayalalithaa in person and also one of the shining moments for him to admire her leadership, Natarajan said.

“She is like the legendary bird Phoenix. Bounced back from every challenge, when the world thought she gone every time. I wish she could come back to life again like a Phoenix, throwing out the challenging god has imposed on her and to work on her dreams and vision to make them a reality.

“Amma Jayalalithaa was a leader who has not only made an unrepeatable history in India and also become a true role model for millions of women to realise their power in public service and make betterment of the society and nation,” Natarajan said.

He said, no doubt that Jayalalithaa was an exemplary and extraordinary leader for the ordinary people, particularly for the poor and the middle class. She had implemented numerous welfare programs and rural development schemes for ordinary citizens, which no other state’s chief minister still has been able to do.

“After Secretary Hillary Clinton’s meeting with Chief Minister Jayalalithaa back in 2013, Clinton mentioned she is incomparable and strongly determined leader, and she has been an embodiment of woman empowerment,” Natarajan said.

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