Ritesh Ranjan, @royret
December month is always been disastrous for the Tamilnadu state of India. In past few decades it has left such marks which are not irremovable. There are some incidents which have happened recently and some long ago but all has left such marks in citizen’s mind which is unforgettable. It has started from Periyar era to Jayalalitha era. It is disastrous just because state was under unrest when it’s most popular political personality left this world and because of some natural calamity disaster. Every time when this disaster took place it left sorrow and pain in people’s heart. In the recent past, just few years earlier the natural calamities had put the state into a very big unrest. These incidents have not only affected the people of Tamilnadu but some of them have affected people all around the world.
Cyclone Vardha was one the recent cause of natural disaster in Tamilnadu. It started on 12 December night and went on till 14 December. During Vardha crossing the state it was raining heavily with thunder. The thunder and speed of the cyclone was more than 150 km/hour. It uprooted many trees and poles in many places which disturbed the electricity and normal life of people. People lost their life and assets too in this natural disaster. For full 24 hours Chennai city was stand still position. No one was allowed to move out of house. People staying near coastal areas were taken to safe house or community center. Though administration was alerted before and it was ready to handle such situation but still many had to go through this trouble. All arrangements that were made was a waste. Railways have to change the routes of many trains for two days. MTC and other public transport were shut. Assocham report says vardha has chased 6749 crore rs loss to Tamilnadu.
Unfortunately the former CM of Tamilnadu also died in the month of December 2016. She was under treatment for a long time in Apollo hospital. When she was admitted to hospital she was in power which she came after a May 2016 assembly election by defeating major regional opponent DMK. It was the first time in history of state that AIADMK has continuous win assembly elections. By this time Jalalitha has set her “Amma” brand and name in people mind and heart. She was admitted to hospital in 22 September 2016 and since than AIADMK cadres and followers were throwing to hospital to have a glimpse of her Amma. After a long undergoing treatment she was declared to be dead on 5th December 2016. After her death it was suppose to have big unrest, protest, violence and rights in the state but thanks to TN police and administration who took control on scenario. Millions of people including President Pranav Mukharjee, PM Narendra Modi and super star Rajanikant took part in her last right and paid homage to her. There is still a speculation and doubt among people who will carry forward the MGR and Amma’s welfare program, policies for public and their party.
2015 December flood was the most tragic natural disaster after 2004 tsunami. Many people lost their life and many were houseless because the flood water has drown or flown their houses and household things. School, colleges were remained closed for a months’ time. Farmer and agriculture land were most effect. Much social organization and other institution claimed that it was not a natural disaster but men made disaster. Irregularities and corruption has shrunk the water ways and canal which resulted as flood. They claimed that with the help of some politicians and corrupt officer’s people encroach on water ways and canal which leaves very narrow way for water to flow. Railways have to change the routes of many trains for two days. MTC and other public transport were shut for many days.
Tsunami in December
On 26th December 2004, the Indian Ocean was hit by tsunamis which are considered to be the most catastrophic in the living memory of the inhabitants of the coastal areas of this ocean. It was caused by a severe earthquake which measured 8.9 on the Richter scale. This is perhaps the highest magnitude for any earthquake ever recorded anywhere in the world. This earthquake had its epicentre off the coast of Sumatra (Indonesia) at 3.5° north latitude and 95° east longitude. This place happens to be at the tri-junction of the Indian, Australian and Burmese (Myanmarese) plates. On the main land of India, the main attack of tsunamis was on the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala and the union territory of Pondicherry. Of these three states, Tamil Nadu suffered the most. The largest number of deaths was reported from Nagapattinam, Kanniyakumari, Cuddalore and Chennai districts. Out of a total population of about 15 lakhs in Nagapattinam district about five thousand persons were killed, 2 lakh injured and 1.5 lakh were rendered homeless. As many as 80 villages were completely swept away by waves. Fishing boats were wrested ashore to a distance of one kilometre with many landing on rail tracks near Nagapattinam railway station. The story was almost the same in Kanniyakumari, Cuddalore and Chennai districts.
MGR death in December
It was as if the heart of Tamil Nadu had stopped when former CM of state died in 24 December 1987. For two days normal life was paralyzed. His death sparked off an inexplicable frenzy of looting and rioting all over the state of Tamil Nadu. Shops, movie theaters, buses and other public and private property became the target of wanton violence let loose all over the state. The situation became so hopeless that the police had to resort issuing shoot-at-sight orders, something seldom seen or heard of in democratic India. Vice-President S.D. Sharma was stuck at the airport for three hours. The violence during the funeral alone left 23 people dead and 47 police personnel badly wounded. This state of affairs continued for almost a month all over the state of Tamil Nadu, bringing normal life to a grinding halt and causing untold misery to millions. The cries of the anguished multitude had reached an eerie crescendo by the time the body of the matinee idol-turned-chief minister of Tamil Nadu, was taken on its last journey through the frenzied streets of Madras where 4 million people had descended. Around one million persons followed his remains, around 30 followers committed suicide and lakhs of people had their heads tonsured. Some people in southern region of Tamilnadu still worship him as god. Even though AIADMK party men had anticipated MGR’s death because of his consistently failing health, they had been unable to create a second line of leadership. Until the very end, MGR had held the party in a personal vice-like grip.
End of Periyar era
Periyar or Periyar E.V.R. is the senior most Indian rationalist, atheist and humanist of twentieth century died in 24 December 1973. Periyar advocated rationalism and he can certainly be described as a humanist, irrespective of whether he himself used the term or not. He favored rational thinking and social justice, including the rights of backward and depressed classes and the rights of women. As a part of his Self-Respect Movement, he supported Self-Respect Marriages with mutual consent and without any role for Brahmin priests or religious rituals. Periyar was very strongly opposed to the idea of god as well as to idol-worship. He did not believe in the existence of soul. Moreover, Periyar was against North Indian influences, including Sanskrit and Hindi language. He associated these with Aryans and Brahmins. He favored Tamil language, culture, and a separate Dravida Nadu. According to him, initially the Tamil society was free from the evil influences of Brahminism. Therefore, he was eager to guard against North Indian influences, which he equated with Brahminism. In 1919, Periyar joined the Indian National Congress. Subsequently he resigned the Chairmanship of Erode Municipality and other positions. In 1920-21, he participated in the Non-Cooperation Movement started by Gandhi. Periyar, his wife Nagammai, and sister Kanmma were imprisoned several times during the non-cooperation movement. Periyar also participated in Gandhian programs for prohibition of alcoholic drinks. He was a strict teetotaler throughout his life. Periyar became the President of the Tamil Nadu Congress during 1923-24. Periyar was the back bone of all the social movement started for good and welfare of non Brahmins. Periyar died on 24 December 1973 at Vellore Christian Hospital, Tamil Nadu. He was ninety-five years old at that time. His body was brought to Periyar Thidal in Chennai (Madras City), the place from where organizations founded by him operated. He was buried at Periyar Thidal on 25 December in a simple wooden coffin in a distinctly un-Hindu ceremony. He is called to be a founder of Drawid movement in state.