This is a guest post by FRANCIS CODY
All who did and most who did not support the Chief Minister are in mourning, in some form or another. J. Jayalalithaa is no more. A cinema star-turned-leader, whose determination in the face of massive adversity had won her the titles of ‘Iron Butterfly’ and ‘Revolutionary Leader’, Jayalalithaa captured the imagination as a woman not necessarily of the people, but certainly with the people as a ubiquitous presence and force in political and popular life. It’s hard to fathom the Tamil landscape with the knowledge that all of those portraits of the leader no longer point back to a living, sentient being. The outpouring of emotion she commanded in life and now in death never cease to amaze those do not have a feel for how the political and popular affect have been collapsed into one another, for better and for worse. Without getting into the task of proving the sincerity of sentiment leading some to go so far as to take their own lives in acts of political devotion, or the opposite and equally misguided one of showing that those who participate in public displays of mourning are doing so because of some culture of political ‘sycophancy’ as it is often dubbed, we must shift the terms of debate on the nature of her power while appreciating the massive loss Tamil Nadu has sustained with her passing.