How can you get 1 lakh rupees in cash, 36,000 rupees to cover your medical expenses, AND a government job in India? Simple! Just cut off your tongue if the political party that you support wins the election.
I normally ignore anything to do with politics as it only leaves me shaking my head in disbelief and frustration, but this was just too bizarre. A 32 year old woman from Tamil Nadu vowed to sever her tongue if the All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party was elected to power. Sure enough, when the party did win, she went to a temple and cut it off. Doctors apparently failed to reattach it, despite Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa intervening and rushing her to a private hospital to be treated. The Chief Minister then compensated, or should we say rewarded, the woman with money and a job in a canteen for her efforts.
My first thought was how ridiculous! Surely, this will just encourage other acts of self harm. I’m not alone in thinking this either as the act has attracted widespread criticism from a human rights campaigner.
Unfortunately, it seems acts of self harm aren’t isolated incidents in Tamil Nadu politics. It’s shockingly been going on for the past four decades, since the anti-Hindi agitations in 1965. Many cadres resorted to suicide to add impetus to their protests then. In return, political parties made them out to be martyrs. Even today, their families still continue receive state pensions.
The last time someone cut off their tongue was in 2002, in support of the same political party. It was the chief’s 54th birthday, and a tea shop vendor decided to celebrate it by severing his tongue and offering it at the Tirupathi temple.
Shame he didn’t wrap it up with a ribbon and offer it as a gift to the chief instead!
© 2011, Diary of a White Indian Housewife. All rights reserved. Do not copy and reproduce text or images without permission.
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