As the nine days of fasting, feasting of snacks (read as 'chundals'), pujas are on (Navarathri or Dussera), there is a chief minister who is fighting for her life from September 22. It is almost 3 weeks since J. Jayalalitha, the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, has been admitted in the Apollo hospital citing 'fever and dehydration' as reasons. But, as the days passed, the chief minister still remains in the hospital and the period is obviously too long for the simple 'fever and dehydration'. In this age of flashing news (also rumours) every other minute through all kinds of channels and social medias, it was looking strange and conspicuous that there were no updates on her health condition in the news channels and the leading English and Tamil dailies of Tamil Nadu. Few words somewhere would mention that 'a team of doctors' are working on her condition. For more than 2 weeks there was no picture on what she is suffering from and whether she will come out of it.
Every person in this world has the right to privacy regarding his/her medical condition. But when are those rights questionable? If he/she is responsible as a ruler of the whole state or a country. Amma, as she is known to the people of Tamil Nadu is revered or worshiped not just by the public, but also by her party members and the ministers in her cabinet always prostrate or bow in front of her, a sight which is not seen in other states. There are lot of schemes that were initiated by her for the benefit of the poor and underprivileged. Tamil Nadu is one of the more advanced states of India in terms of development, literacy rate, employment rate, less maternal mortality rate etc. But on the other side, there was always this kind of worship that existed with the actors turned chief ministers like MG Ramachandran, Jayalalitha. When MGR died, a lot of his die hard fans self immolated. Those were the days when the media penetration was less. But his health condition was not kept as a secret. If I remember right, he was flown to USA to be treated for cardiac problems. During the early 90s, Jayalalitha conducted the wedding of her foster son Sudhakar in ostentatious manner which was the reason for her subsequent defeat in the following elections. She was tried in the disproportionate assets income for which the Supreme Court acquitted her last year and she came back to being the Chief Minister with a good majority.
What kind of fear exists in a democratic country like ours which prevented/still prevented from releasing the details about her medical condition? It is no wonder that lot of rumors do spread when there is no clear information given to the public about their ruler. The Governor of TN visited the hospital but could not see her directly and he was briefed by the doctors about her condition. The opposition party of Tamil Nadu demanded to release a picture of the Chief Minister to put the rumors and suspense to rest. Even the PIL was filed but to no avail. Why should the medical details be shrouded in secrecy when the people of the State get affected is a moot question. Slowly, some information started emerging that her 'condition' is improving and she may be discharged from the hospital shortly. But, the 'shortly' is only becoming longer, and a team of various specialists are said to be working to improve her condition. The doctors attending to her are not supposed to talk to the media persons unless and until they are told to do so. As I write today, she is kept under ventilator and has to continue like that for a long time and maybe she is suffering from Sepsis, a deadly autoimmune disease. Is this true? Will she come out of it? Only time will tell.