‘Uppu Amma’ scores over ‘Upuma’

In Tamil Nadu, the humble’ Uppu’ (Table salt) will never be the same, V GANGADHAR tells you why.

Don’t be surprised when ‘Amma Uppu” (Amma Salt) takes Tamil Nadu by storm. Of course, after Amma Drinking Water and ‘Amma Unavagam’ (Amma restaurants), the arrival of Amma Salt was inevitable. The TamilNadu Chief Minister, Jayalalita knows the value of fundamentals. After all what is food without the humble but incomparable salt? What is ‘Unavagam’ or even ‘Mor’ (cool buttermilk) without ‘Uppu’.

Make no mistake about it. Despite being a glamorous film star and now the strongest Indian Chief Minister, Jaya Amma remained be the salt of the earth. Hence the supplies of idli, dosa, rice and sambhar, pongal and curd rice at highly subsidized prices at the Amma canteens. These items were the common man’s staple food.

More so was humble common salt and by utilizing it our Amma had scored yet again. Since no one could challenge her salt promotion scheme, the opposition DMK could only shed salty tears. We can expect the TN government to promote Amma Salt with verve and vigour and score one more significant political point.

This is where Amma scored over her political rivals and other Opposition leaders. How different she is from the firebrand Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress party whose fiery rhetoric and aggressive posturing were found to be far less effective than the Amma approach. Mamata is always  the excited aggressor, ready to pick quarrels with everyone.

Amma presents a picture of … well, Amma, the serene Mother. What does this Mother do? Shower her children with gifts including provisions at cheap rates and through her Amma canteens feed them well. The strategy is simple. Why didn’t Sonia Gadhi’s Congress did not think of this and curb food inflation with strong measures. The election results provide us with the answer

The new salt scheme will be a great success because Jaya was matchless in implementing her schemes. Of late during my Chennai visits, I always visited the amma canteens. They were clean, the snacks tasty and filling, light on the purse. Wash it down with the Amma Mor and the world looks bright. From June 11.

The Amma foodstuffs will become healthier with the use of double fortified salt, refined free flow iodised salt’ and low sodium salt. Priced less than market brands, the Amma brands of salt claim to help those with anaemic and goitre disorders, and could be a boon for blood pressure and cardiac problems.

Salt is a simple, unromantic and comparatively cheap product, missed by people only when it is not there. But it was such a vital ingredient of our food intake that Mahatma Gandhi began his famous Salt Satyagraha, a highlight of our freedom struggle. Operating through the vast TN government network, distribution of amma salt would pose no problems.

A government with a deep understanding of the people’s problems along with political acumen would go a long way in sticking to power. Karunanidhi, his family and party are helpless, they can’t give up salt though it is unthinkable they would patronize Amma salt. I can’t visualize a packet of Amma salt on the Karunanidhi dining table.

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