The Greater Tragedy of Ignored Voices

I have written an open and very direct letter to our Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi ji, regarding my questions on the tragic demise of Amma, our Honourable Chief Minister Dr. J Jayalalithaa avl. This letter was published on the 8th of December 2016 through my blog and directly sent to his Twitter handle as well as that of his office. Subsequent to this, the pain and uncertainty I expressed in my letter have been amplified to resonate through the country and our citizens throughout the world. The outpourings of anguish from citizens of Tamil Nadu and all over India, have joined forces with my voice addressed to our Prime Minister. I have addressed our Prime Minister on the most democratic public platform as this is a matter that is of the greatest public relevance and importance.

Our Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi ji, has been one of, if not our earliest, political leaders to embrace the ways of today’s modern world. Most specifically in his wholehearted espousal of modern technology and SOCIAL MEDIA. He has been a most vociferous proponent of utilising technology and DIGITAL AND SOCIAL MEDIA to make communication instantaneous and EFFECTIVE. He has reiterated time and again his accessibility on digital and social media platforms to the common citizen of India. There are several examples of his drive and initiatives to this effect but I will not digress in order to reiterate what is very well known fact.

If we are to be told today that a letter that was addressed directly to our Prime Minister, the contents of which raged across our nation, both on NATIONAL MEDIA/PRESS and SOCIAL MEDIA, has escaped the notice of his office and therefore himself, it is an extremely devastating reality for us to face. As a political leader who has promised to listen to his people and bring about true and meaningful change in the way this country has been governed through the past decades, this denying any knowledge even of a justified and rightful query from the very citizens of his country is disappointing to say the least. How is a citizen’s query, made with honest intent and immense grief, any less relevant because it has been delivered on a communication platform of modern technology?

In the time since writing that letter, I have been steadfast in my faith in my Prime Minister. Faith in his accountability to the people of his nation as per the tenets of democracy. Faith in him as an individual leader who has shown the strength to take harsh and potentially unpopular steps for the betterment of this country. Faith in his word when he said the entire nation is as one for him. Then why this denial now? Is South India and most specifically Tamil Nadu, not deserving of the attention and accountability of our Central Government? Yes, several members of the Central Government and other officials have travelled back and forth to Chennai during the period of Amma’s hospitalisation and “treatment” but have we, the people of Tamil Nadu, received even one response to any of our entreaties? To deny answers to our questions and deny justice to Amma is to deny Tamil Nadu itself. Why must we be forced to accept this apathy towards our anguish and uncertainty?

My state has been battered since the past several months in unprecedented and shattering ways. Amma’s heartrendingly tragic demise that has left an indelible mark upon each of us in different ways. Cyclone Varadha that tore us up and ripped us apart in a storm of huge proportions. We are still, and will be struggling for a long time to come, with the devastating aftermath of this calamity. Our awe-inspiringly peaceful and rightful protest by the people of Tamil Nadu all over the world to uphold the age-old traditions of one of the oldest known cultures in the world. Our farmers continue to be battered to the point of ending their lives out of sheer hopelessness, knowing their cries are unheard.

Through all of these devastating happenings, I, we, have been waiting.  Waiting and hopeful of meaningful support and response from our Central Government. Respectful of the demands of due process and the inner workings of government and politics. However, there must come a time when we must ask if this silence is more than a preoccupation with matters of “greater” importance. What is the message inherent in such a steadfast silence on a matter critical to the very basis of a democratic state and the safety and security of it’s citizens?  A leading politician of our country and the serving Chief Minister of one of India’s foremost states has died in office under conditions that are shrouded in mystery and complete obscurity. As citizens of this state and this nation, we are entitled to have complete knowledge of these details. It is a fundamental confidence and security that a democratic nation owes her people. In addition to this, Amma is a leader who has a lasting and very real bond with the crores of her people who love and respect her. Our anguish and our grief must be respected and honoured with answers. With the truth.

What will it take for our governments to listen to us? For them to respond to us? Another massive uprising of every citizen on the streets of this state before they will pay attention? And do the right thing only when faced with protests of gargantuan proportions? At what human cost?

Jai Hind!

Gautami Tadimalla

3rd February 2017

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