Know Why Late Jayalalithaa Is Called ‘Amma’?
Tamilnadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was declared dead yesterday on December 5, at the age of 68. J Jayalalithaa was popularly known as Amma, which means mother, was given the name, as some speculate, since she is considered a mother-figure to the people of the state. The word Amma signifies mother in Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam.
Due to her benevolence and respect she has garnered over the years, her party and the common people associate her to a benevolent mother figure who would care for them.
There are also speculations that she is called Amma due to the 'thottil kuzhandhai' or the 'cradle baby scheme', which allowed unwanted children to be left with the state government. A lot of children were also adopted and the scheme was reportedly a hit.
Others said that she chose to be associated with the mother figure after her run as a Tamil actress to make people associate her with authority and modesty.
In the state, she is revered like a god and her supporters have even worshipped her in many cases. The mass following she enjoys can only be compared to that of a cult leader. Whether it was her arrest or her current illness, hundreds of Tamilians have mourned her downfall over and over again.
But what makes the leader so popular? She had not been the first to use freebies for votes. From laptops to clothes to almost free food, she's left no stone unturned when wooing voters.
There are canteens (Amma Unavagam) that serve highly subsidised food to the common people. You can get an idli for as low as Rs 1.
There are also schemes for seeds, cement, health check-ups (Amma Master Health Check- up, Amma Special Master Health Check-up Scheme for Women and Amma Arokia Thittam).