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Jayalalitha who ruled the state for over 15 years passed away. She had been admitted to the Apollo Hospital in Chennai since September 2016, where she was in the care of lung specialists and cardiologists.

With an over three-decade undefeated reign in politics and an ambitious film career, 68-year-old Jayalalithaa has challenged the stereotypes, not only in Tamil Nadu but the entire nation

Here is an insight into Jayalalitha’s journey from a struggle filled childhood to a political queen.

Jayalalithaa early Life

Born on February 24, 1948, Jayalalithaa was first given her grandmother’s name Koamalavalli at the time of birth, was named per Brahmin customs. At her first birth was namedJayalalitha. The name was interestingly dervied from the names of two houses- Jaya vilas and Laitha Vilas-where she lived in Mysore.

At the age of two, her father Jayaram died which threw her family into a tumultuous world. Her mother Vedavalli then started working in Tamil cinema with screen name Sandhya.

Meanwhile, Jayalalitha remained under care of her mother sister Padmavalli and with maternal grandparents from 1950 to 1958 in Mysore

After her aunt’s marriage in 1958, Jayalalithaa moved to Chennai to live with her mother and completed her childhood education there.

Jayalalithaa Film career

Fond of classical dance and music, Jayalalithaa, during her education trained in Bharatanatyam, Mohiniattam, Manipuri, and Kathak.

While giving her debut dance performance at the Rasika Ranjani Sabha in Mylapore in 1960, she was spotted by Tamil actor Sivaji Ganesan, who expressed his wish that Jayalalithaa becomes a film star in future.

She was only 15 when she did a Kannada film Chinnada Gombe at the pursuance of her mother. Luckily the film became a hit and Jayalalithaa became a recognized face.

Breaking the traditional Bollywood stereotypes, Jayalalithaa became the first Tamil actress to appear in skirts on screen. She was paired aginst Sivaji Ganesan and M G Ramachandran.

She Starred opposite Bollywood’s He-man Dharmendra in IZZAT with a raunchy song to her credit. she also acted in an English film titled Epistle that released in 1961. The film was produced by Shankar Giri, son of former president of India Dr. V.V.Giri.

Jayalalithaa Political career

Sharing the screen with Tamil Superstar MG Ramachandran in more than 28 films brought them together as partners in politics as well. so, when MGR formed AIADMK, he asked Jayalalithaa to join the party

MGR was very close to his co-star Jayalalithaa and was seen as grooming her as his political heir. Impressed with Jayalalithaa’s crowd pulling capabilities, MGR appointed Jayalalithaa as propaganda secretary of his party AIADMK.

MGR’s death I 1987 left Jayalalithaa distraught. she was literally manhandled by the supporters of MGR’s wife Janaki. An astute Jayalalithaa took advantage of her public humiliation and presented herself as a victim of high-handedness of Janaki who became CM of Tamil Nadu after MGR’s demise for a brief period.

Jayalalithaa succeeded in creating her own coterie in AIADMK and Janaki lost the vote of no-confidence motion brought against her by Jayalalithaa’s supporters. Jayalalithaa was now the political heir of MGR

Drawing on her massive popularity in 1989, she won the elections to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly becoming the first woman to be elected leader of the opposition

In 1991, following the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in Tamil Nadu, her alliance with the Congress party propelled the coalition to a massive victory. Jayalalithaa was re-elected to the Legislative Assembly and became the first elected woman chief minister of Tamil Nadu.

Since then there has been no looking back for the 68-year-old AIADMK leader. she went on to create history by becoming the first person to return to power for a successive term in the last 30 years in the southern state.

Actually, she is the first leader after her mentor and the legendary MGR to achieve this feat.

Controversies

During the years out o f Power, Jayalalithaa had to face a number of criminal lawsuits related to her first term rule, mostly dealing with embezzlement and monetary fraud.

In 2001, a special court convicted her of criminal breach of trust and sentenced her to five years of imprisonment, following which she was prohibited from contesting elections.

In 2003 however, the supreme court acquitted her in the specific case for lack of conclusive evidence to convict her.

O paneerselvam, allegedly a puppet of Jayalalithaa, became the Cheif minister vacating the chair for her in 2003. she again became the CM of the state in 2011.

In 2017, Jayalalithaa suffered another major blow as she was jailed in the disproportionate assets case. However, an acquittal in 2015 paved way for her to become the Chief Minister for the fifth time.

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