The irony was stark. All her life J Jayalalithaa had shunned 24×7 media, snapping at Karan Thapar in an interview, “It was certainly not a pleasure talking to you, namaste.” She was a self-declared hater of the limelight, contemptuous of the press, famously slapping criminal defamation charges against a newspaper. She preferred to remain shut away in her shrouded residence of Chennai’s Poes Garden, an aloof Lady of Shalott.

Yet what she eschewed in life, she could not prevent in death as TV crews kept up minute to minute coverage of her deteriorating health, beaming out details of her bodily functions in an invasion of privacy she would have sternly curtailed if she had been able.

Jayalalithaa did not need and had never needed the media. Among the thousands gathered outside Apollo hospital in her last hours, the huge presence of women and poor was a reminder of her vibrant connection with her voters, however far removed she may have outwardly seemed. She required no support from mainstream or social media. Instead she touched the lives of millions in basic, workaday and ordinary ways, sensing the peoples’ pulse through an excellent rapport with cadres and creating service delivery schemes that established her presence in their daily lives. “I’ve never been comfortable in front of the camera,” she told Simi Garewal, “I’m a behind the scenes person.” First fighting for MGR’s mantle, then battling the DMK for 20 years, she showed extraordinary stamina.

There lie some of the key lessons that Jayalalithaa’s career offers today’s politicians. In the age of constant media exposure when netas are either tweeting or giving speeches on primetime TV, Jayalalithaa practised an older form of politics – she knew her voter so well that she didn’t need the media to validate her appeal. To those politicians who think that the television media is the message, Jayalalithaa’s politics instead show what can be achieved through a systematic programme of action where daily needs of voters take centre stage.

She provided Amma water and Amma medicines. Amma Salt, or salt fortified with iron and iodine was created to treat iodine deficiencies. An NGO executive once remarked that if rising anaemia among women was brought to Jayalalithaa’s notice she would have immediately worked on a scheme to deal with it.

She faced serious corruption charges, accused of gathering disproportionate assets and building a treasure chest for herself. But despite being sent to jail on two separate occasions, she was able to bounce back each time, her popularity intact. Here is the second lesson for today’s politicians: Jayalalithaa’s credibility among the people was so high that she was able to withstand the taint of financial corruption. Her powerful delivery-oriented social welfarism made her the perpetual lady bountiful.

It was almost as if the voter forgave her excesses because she was the provider of the basic necessities of life, from the tasty Rs 5 sambhar rice to the Rs 1 idli in the Amma canteen. Not food as slop thrown condescendingly at the poor, but cooked and served with spotless cleanliness and dignity.

The third lesson that Jayalalithaa’s politics provides is that politicians are ultimately judged on their administrative efficiency. That Tamil Nadu has been a leading state in attracting investments and in ease of doing business is a reflection that – although corruption charges have been levelled at the administration – Jayalalithaa was able to reduce the traditional obstructionism of government. She took on the LTTE in Tamil Nadu after Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, enhancing her tough, no nonsense image. She was criticised during the Chennai floods and for her liquor policy, but in the 2016 elections it was clear she was still trusted as an administrator.

Like today’s politicians she thrived on a personality cult. Like other women politicians Mamata and Mayawati, her whimsical behaviour was often deliberate strategy to keep political rivals always on the defensive. Yet, in another lesson for today’s single-leader parties, Jayalalithaa’s personality cult did not destroy the party apparatus or structure. Hers was not a leader cult based on the destruction of the party worker. The fact that O Panneerselvam has been able to take over as her successor, without a power struggle shows that the party structure has, at least for now, held firm.

The role of Jayalalithaa’s close aide Sasikala remains controversial and there are reports that she could now play the role of an extra constitutional authority. Yet all her life Jayalalithaa remained a singular figure, without family or coterie, totally unlike the families and coteries that surround other regional satraps. There is no parallel in Jayalalithaa’s life to a Yadav parivar or a Badal clan. She was the supremo as a lonely heroine, her absolute power seasoned with personal sadness.

Jayalaithaa’s life story also offers lessons for celebrities who seek instant recognition by entering public life. Jayalalithaa may have been brought into politics by MGR but she had to claw her way to the top against implacable opposition. She fought back fiercely every time she was pushed into a corner. The people saw her being attacked and abused and witnessed her courage in facing her attackers.

There was nothing gimmicky about Jayalalithaa. Her connect with vast masses of people was based on an unabashed and unapologetic social welfarism. She reminded that what is considered ‘populist’ in high flying seminars is vital social welfare for millions on the ground. She was a ruthless politician and a dictatorial leader but she touched voters’ lives in simple ways to make their living conditions better. Jayalalithaa was not a politician of photo-ops, soundbites or carefully crafted PR images. No wonder that the one time TV cameras were able to report on her 24×7, was only when she began to lose her final battle.

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The Prime Minister’s first trade mission resulted in £1.2 billion worth of business between UK and Indian companies.

The Prime Minister used the visit to deliver on the ambitious vision for Britain after Brexit forging a new global role for the UK as a country with the self-confidence and the freedom to look beyond the continent of Europe.

The Prime Minister said:

Leaving the European Union presents us with a world of opportunities and I’m determined to seize them. That’s why I went to India to deliver on global Britain and I have to say that the response I’ve had here in India has been excellent. This is my first trade mission but we’ve seen on this visit deals worth a billion pounds being signed.

We have an agreement with the Indian government to work with them on our trade relationship. What that means is more trade for British businesses, more jobs and investment in the UK and that’s good for the whole country.

A number of commercial deals were signed during the visit, creating and securing jobs at home and demonstrating market confidence in the strength of the British economy following the EU referendum vote.

  • Dynamatic and Airbus announced the commercial production of flap track beams which are high-tech guide rails fitted to the wings of the aircraft, crucial in controlling speed, direction and balance. The parts are machined in Dynamatic’s facilities in Swindon, and Bristol and then manufactured and assembled in Bangalore. Dynamatic signed a deal worth £205 million of which £120 million will benefit the UK economy and create 60 new jobs across Dynamatic’s 2 UK sites.
  • Dyson is to open flagship stores in major cities across India including Delhi and Mumbai, as well as partner with leading retailers to make its technology available to Indian consumers. Dyson expects to set up in India in 2017 and generate around £150 million revenue over the next 5 years.
  • Buffalo Grid uses solar energy to provide mobile power and internet services to off-grid communities. The company expects to export 500 solar-powered, internet-connected hubs to provide mobile power and internet to rural villages in India – connecting over 250,000 people living in some of India’s poorest villages. These hubs will be manufactured in the UK and will generate up to £24 million in revenue over 5 years.
  • King’s College Hospital, Ernst and Young UK and Pricewaterhouse Coopers along with other leading UK health providers have signed a range of commercial and financial partnerships with the Indo-UK Institute of Health (IUIH) worth £300 million.
  • Westminster Healthcare are investing £14 to £15 million in a pioneering diagnostic centre in India which will open in January 2017. The UK export value of goods and services will be approximately £10 million with a turnover of around £75 million over a 5-year period.
  • Gurr Johns will provide services such as the valuation and appraisal of fine and decorative art, antiques and collectables to art enthusiasts and collectors across India. The deal is expected to generate a turnover of £50 million in the next 3 to 5 years.
  • He-Man Dual Controls are setting up a manufacturing plant in Chennai, with a total investment and export value of £800,000 over the next 5 years.
  • Equiniti India, an intelligent provider of sophisticated technology, administration, processing and payments services, has invested an additional £3.1 million as part of their expansion plans for India.
  • Wockhardt, a leading Indian pharmaceutical and biotechnology company has a Sterile Manufacturing Facility based in Wrexham, North Wales which employs approximately 380 personnel. The site currently has capacity to manufacture and pack 25 million ampoules, vials and cartridges. It is now investing a further £10 million to enhance its existing manufacturing capabilities in Wrexham. This investment will result in an additional capacity of 50 million ampoules and vials and will also generate 40 to 50 new jobs.
  • Pandrol Rahee Technologies Pvt Ltd is investing around £1.5 million to build a state of the art manufacturing unit in Hyderabad. The plant will manufacture specialised railway clips and is expected to generate £45 to 50 million in turnover over the next 5 years.
  • London-based Kloudpad exports the very best of British designed technology and is investing £50 million into a new manufacturing plant in India. This will see profits soar by £300 million – bringing 50 new jobs into London.
  • Firstsource Solutions, which has 7 centres across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is adding 1,000 staff over the next 6 months. The Business Process Management company already employs 4,000 people in the UK. The firm also recently opened a centre in Warrington employing 250 people.
  • Wipro announced the expansion of its Wipro Digital business with the opening of its second office, a 150-seater facility in London. Wipro Digital had unveiled a 75-seater digital pod in London last year. These 2 pods will together give Wipro Digital increased specialised capability in digital strategy, design and engineering. It will offer UK and global brands integrated and end-to-end digital transformation services.

With approximately 1.5 million people of Indian origin in the UK, the Indian diaspora plays a vital role in our national life. India is now our second largest international job creator – last year, India created 7,105 new jobs in Britain through 140 projects, and in total Indian companies currently employ over 100,000 people in the UK. We have unique ties between our 2 countries, and there is enormous potential to grow.

The Prime Minister visited 2 cities in India, starting with the capital New Delhi, where she inaugurated the India-UK TECH Summit alongside Prime Minister Modi. The TECH Summit, South Asia’s largest technology conference, providea a platform for promoting technology-intensive trade between the 2 countries.

Prime Minister Theresa May's visit