In an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Tamil actor Gautami Tadimalla expressed anguish at the Centre’s decision to stay silent on pressing issues faced by Tamil Nadu including the death of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.
Titled “The greater tragedy of ignored voices”, Gautami wrote a detailed blogpost on Friday hitting out at the Centre’s apathy towards the plight of the people of Tamil Nadu.
“What will it take for our governments to listen to us? For them to respond to us? Another massive uprising of every citizen on the streets of this state before they will pay attention? And do the right thing only when faced with protests of gargantuan proportions? At what human cost?” she writes.
Her outpouring comes nearly two months after the Tamil actor wrote a letter addressed to Modi regarding the mystery shrouding Jayalalithaa’s death. She said that in addition to publishing the “open and very direct letter” to the Prime Minister on her blog, she had also sent it to his Twitter handle and his office. But with no acknowledgement from his office or the Centre, Gautami writes,
“If we are to be told today that a letter that was addressed directly to our Prime Minister, the contents of which raged across our nation, both on NATIONAL MEDIA/PRESS and SOCIAL MEDIA, has escaped the notice of his office and therefore himself, it is an extremely devastating reality for us to face. As a political leader who has promised to listen to his people and bring about true and meaningful change in the way this country has been governed through the past decades, this denying any knowledge even of a justified and rightful query from the very citizens of his country is disappointing to say the least.”
Questioning if South India and in particular Tamil Nadu is not deserving of the Centre’s attention and accountability, Gautami goes on to emphasise the many events that have “shattered” the state recently – the demise of sitting CM Jayalalithaa, Cyclone Vardah, the “peaceful and rightful” jallikattu protests and the suicide of farmers owing to drought.
The actor states:
“Through all of these devastating happenings, I, we, have been waiting. Waiting and hopeful of meaningful support and response from our Central Government. Respectful of the demands of due process and the inner workings of government and politics. However, there must come a time when we must ask if this silence is more than a preoccupation with matters of “greater” importance. What is the message inherent in such a steadfast silence on a matter critical to the very basis of a democratic state and the safety and security of its citizens?”
Reiterating her demand for the truth on Jaylaalithaa’s death, Gautami points out that it is a “fundamental confidence and security that a democratic nation owes her people.”
Gautami had on December 8, 2016 written a letter to PM Modi over the secrecy surrounding Jayalalithaas hospitalisation and her subsequent death. Pointing out that her concerns were shared by several other citizens, she wrote, “Why this secrecy and isolation of a beloved public leader and the head of the Tamil Nadu government? What/whose authority restricted access to the late Chief Minister? Who were the concerned persons who were making the decisions about Selvi Dr. J Jayalalithaa ji’s treatment and care when her health was apparently in such a delicate state? And who is responsible for these answers to the people? These and many other burning questions are being asked by the people of Tamil Nadu and I echo their voice in bringing them to your ears, sir.”