CHENNAI: Actor Kamal Haasan on Thursday sharpened his attack on the right wing leadership, saying they cannot deny the phenomenon of Hindu terror. Replying to a question from Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in a Tamil magazine, the actor sparked yet another round of debate on the activities of Hindutva forces.
Here’s Vijayan’s poser: “Periyar’s self respect movement has made an impact beyond Tamil Nadu and many are looking up to Tamil Nadu for enthusiasm and encouragement in this aspect. However, of late, racist and reactionary forces have been trying to gain a foothold in Tamil Nadu. The slow intrusion of Hindutva forces is weakening the Dravidian culture. What is your view as a social activist?”
In his response, Kamal said at a time when a generation had grown up without knowing caste differences, conservatives had entered the modern platforms (like social media), and started fanning casteism.
The Hindu right wing has now resorted to the use of force, including violence. “They cannot dare to pose this question anymore: Can you show me a Hindu terrorist?” the actor said.
“This kind of terrorism is not a victory or progress for those who boast of being Hindus... It will make all of us barbarians. ...I hope the day is not far away when Tamil Nadu will become a model for social reforms and as on date, Kerala is a model for such reforms. My wishes for that State.”
The actor said the older generation was upset because the society was moving towards equality. So they were trying to impose their conservative ideas and casteist, ‘sanatanic’ limitations on the younger generation. “They are trying to spread conservative ideas through all means - culture, festivals, worship, music, art etc. Reacting to this, the right wing people in other religions also started doing an encore. Not just in Tamil Nadu but also across the country, I see this as a degradation,” he added.
Predictably, BJP national secretary H Raja was scathing in his attack on the actor. “Kamal Haasan greeting Kerala as a model shows that he has no information about what is happening there. Without having any concern for the ‘red terror’ prevailing in Kerala, he said something. The very remark about Hindu terrorism is meaningless - it is a misnomer - because there nothing exists like that. Let him remember it was Tauheed Jamaat that had intimidated him demanding he recall his views on a bomb hurled at the house of film director Mani Ratnam,” he said.
Senior journalist Tharasu Shyam said, “The use of the phrase Hindu terrorism by Kamal Haasan shows he is ignorant about the definition of religious terrorism. Else, he must have some hidden agenda in saying so, perhaps to establish himself in politics. Countries across the globe have not accepted associating terrorism with Hindu religion. Only when a religion imposes its belief on others, it is called terrorism.”
Political analyst Ravindran Duraiswamy saw in Kamal’s signed article his clarification on where he stands in politics. “He is eyeing the anti-BJP voters who are supporters of the Left. Let us not forget that other than the Congress, Muslim parties and Left parties, others had aligned with the BJP in the past,” he said.