If you're in the Tamil Nadu State Assembly, there's only one name you can't say: Jayalalithaa. The Speaker of the House ruled on Monday that legislators cannot refer to the chief minister by her name. The decision prompted a walk-out by members of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, annoyed that the Speaker had allowed a ruling party legislator to name their leader, former chief minister M Karunanidhi.
“No, you cannot call her by her name. This is my order,” said Speaker P Dhanpal, according to the Deccan Chronicle. The issue had begun after a member of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam named Karunanidhi while discussing the budget.
Per the Economic Times, it is customary only to use honorifics to refer to to the party chiefs: Kalaignar (artist) or Thalaivar (leader) for Karunanidhi and Puratchi Thalaivi (revolutionary leader) or Amma for Jayalalithaa. So when the AIADMK MLA said Karunanidhi's name, Opposition legislators jumped to their feet to protest. He concluded that it was fine to name the former chief minister.
The DMK MLAs then asked Dhanpal whether it was acceptable to name Jayalalithaa, to which he said no, prompting a walkout by the Opposition. ET quotes experts saying it is an "unnecessary controversy", and Stalin later spoke to the media saying the Speaker's order violates the rulebook.
Even so, as it stands, you are not allowed to name Jayalalithaa in the Tamil Nadu Assembly. So what do you call her?
The ruler who is just, gracious, liberal
The light among kings
The embodiment of profound wisdom and compassion
Her of boundless wisdom
Great visionary leader
Finance Minister O Paneerselvam, who is a former chief minister himself, also offered another way of making reference to Amma: Through Thiruvallavar couplets. He used several lines from the oeuvre of the great Tamil poet to describe Jayalalithaa.
"Gifts, grace, right scepter, care of people’s weal These four a light of revered King’s reveal."
"Just to say a thing is easy for anyone, but to do it in the manner undertaken is a rare thing indeed.”
Pannerselvam also used his budget speech to quote Jayalalithaa herself, when she introduced the budget, a short section that included a reference to American leader Martin Luther King and a promise to see Tamil Nadu emerging as "Numero Uno" in all economic and social indicators.
Outsided the House of course, there are many more ways to display what you think of Jayalalithaa.