Is December unlucky month for Tamil Nadu?
The 2004 tsunami, Chennai floods, very recent Nada cyclone visited Tamil Nadu in December. Not just countless lives were lost in these natural catastrophes, even prominent political leaders in the state like Jayalalithaa, MGR, Rajagopalachari and Periyar, too, breathed their last in this month
December arrives in Tamil Nadu in the form of disaster - heavy rains, sometimes cyclones, and political deaths. While the entire gets drenched in South-West monsoon in July-August, Tamil Nadu, being a rain shadow region, gets winter rainfall.
This time, cyclone Nada visited the state during early December. However, it passed away without causing much damage.
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But last year, December month began with the flooding of capital city Chennai. More than 500 people were killed and over 18 lakh people were displaced in the 2015 Chennai floods. With estimates of damages and losses ranging from nearly ₹200 billion to over ₹1 trillion (US$15 billion), the floods were the costliest to have occurred in 2015, and were among the costliest natural disasters of the year.
[caption id="attachment_333997" align="alignnone" width="600"] An iconic photograph shot after the Indian Ocean tsunami visited Tamil Nadu in 2004[/caption]
On 25 December, 2004, the Indian Ocean tsunami left the state battered, killing over 8,000 people killing in the coastal regions. Though other coastal states like Andaman & Nicobar islands, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha were hit by tsnami, Tamil Nadu got the worst deal. Many villages were wiped away.
Apart from these natural catastrophes, it seems even Death likes to pay a visit to Tamil Nadu in this month of December.
A majority of prominent political leaders in Tamil Nadu breathed their last in December, the most recent being Chief Minister and AIADMK chief Jayaram Jayalalithaa. After a day of media speculation about her demise, it was formally announced at 11.30 pm on Monday night (5 December, 2016) that she had passed away.
[caption id="attachment_333998" align="aligncenter" width="300"] J Jayalalithaa[/caption]
She was 68, and had been hospitalised at Apollo in Chennai since September 22. Mystery shrouds her death as neither the government nor her party entertained requests to give regular updates about her health status while she was at the hospital.
[caption id="attachment_333999" align="aligncenter" width="300"] MG Ramachandran[/caption]
Her mentor and guide MG Ramachandran, famous as MGR, too, passed away in a similar manner 32 years ago on 24 December, 1987, aged 70. He served as Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister for 10 years between 1977 and 1987, till the time of his death. MGR is a cultural icon in Tamil Nadu, even after so many years of demise. Before entering politics, he was a superstar in Tamil cinema. In October 1984, MGR was diagnosed with kidney failure, which was further complicated by diabetes, a mild heart attack and a massive stroke. He never fully recovered from that.
[caption id="attachment_334000" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Chakravarti Rajagopalachari[/caption]
India’s last Governor General Chakravarti Rajagopalachari passed away on 25 December, 1972, at the age of 94. Referred by Mahatma Gandhi as the "keeper of my conscience", Rajagopalachari issued temple entry proclamations in the Madras Presidency and worked towards the uplift of Dalits. He served as leader of the Indian National Congress, premier of the Madras Presidency, Governor of West Bengal, Minister for Home Affairs of the Indian Union and Chief Minister of Madras state. Rajagopalachari founded the Swatantra Party and was one of the first recipients of India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.
[caption id="attachment_334001" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Periyar EV Ramasamy[/caption]
Periyar EV Ramasamy, commonly known as Periyar or EVR, passed away on 24 December 1973 at the age of 93. He was a social activist, freedom fighter and politician, who started the Self-Respect Movement and Dravidar Kazhagam. He opposed to marginalization of non-Brahmin Dravidian people of South India and revolutionized the Tamil society. He was called ‘the prophet of the new age, the Socrates of South East Asia’ by the Unesco.