Jayalalitha Jayaram, known only by her first name, was a movie star and the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu state in India. She was cast into the political wilderness, but is now back.
She and her assistants handed out 5004 marriage necklaces to happy brides,
Who is this woman? She succeeded another actor-politician as governor of the state of Tamil Nadu. And how! Huge billboards of her once adorned the roads and streets of the state. Double-page newspaper ads declared:
AN EPOCH-MAKING RULE EARNING THE ACCOLADES OF EVERYONE !
AN EVENTFUL REIGN DEDICATED TO THE BETTERMENT OF THE POOR AND THE DOWNTRODDEN !
a people's Government, wedded to egalitarian principles, marks a glorious entry into its successful 5TH YEAR under the inspiring leadership of the
SAVIOR OF SOCIAL JUSTICE
DR. J. JAYALALITHA
Hon'ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Her people got so carried away they produced a poster showing her with crown and scepter holding a crowned "Christ-like child." It was so offensive to the large Christian minority in the state that it was quickly removed.
She did some good things, including setting up police stations staffed only for women to take care of their problems. She is always embroiled in political intrigue, and much of what she did is window-dressing.
But you always knew who was dressing the window. The adoption and welfare rules, stadiums and schools, companies, the state bus line, new villages and the state TV cable channel were all named after her. One of her ministers suggested that both men and women should get Jayalalitha tattoos to show their undying loyalty.
But, getting back to the wedding. She had two big parties in a year. She adopted the son of her close (some believe extremely close) friend and advisor, Ms. Sasikala Natarajan (also known only by her first name), and invited 400,000 people to the ceremony. The wedding party had a mere 100,000 guests, all of which were sure to have been well feasted.
As for beads given to the brides. The BBC reported that they were mangalsutras. However, this would have been most unusual in southern Tamil Nadu. The mangalsutra is the wedding strand of North India In Tamil Nadu the wedding necklace is a tali. Both can be traced back many centuries (see Beads and Love and Marriage).
The police searched her house and found 30 kg (66 lbs.) of gold, 500 kg (1100 lbs.) of silver and 5000 silk saris. Jayalalitha was apparently trying to outdo Imelda Marcos. Sasikala had been arrested earlier, but the two prisoners don't see each other, as Sasikala is in hospital. Jayalalitha has repudiated the adoption of Sasikala's son. This is one of India's more interesting running political stories.
Small Bead Businesses | Beading & Beadwork | Ancient Beads | Trade Beads