CHENNAI: On his 60th birthday, veteran actor Kamal Haasan called upon civil society to strive to make India a beautiful nation, before turning it into a superpower.
The actor was speaking on Friday on the sidelines of a lake cleaning initiative at Madambakkam, which was undertaken by Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI) with help from the star’s fan base Kamal Narpani Iyakkam (KNI). The actor, who is fondly referred to as Ulaganaayagan, said that being selected among other national icons to help propagate Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachch Bharat campaign, was a testimony to KNI’s past efforts in cleanliness initiatives.
“KNI has been taking goodwill measures like blood donation camps and cleanliness drives for the past 30 years,” he said.
“In fact, such cleanliness drives have been conducted since the times of Raja Raja Cholan and by previous Indian governments as well. Only that most of us do not remember it all too well,” the actor added.
Calling EFI founder Arun Krishnamurthy a doer, Kamal also commended the NGO’s efforts in restoring lakes and stated that his desire was to see all lakes in Tamil Nadu restored.
“It is not an impossible task because I am not alone in this,” the actor said to loud cheers from his fans.
Kamal termed himself and his fan base ‘colourless’ when it came to drawing a political line.
“We are all world citizens. We don’t differentiate by religion and political ideologies, and as long as there are humans, we will continue to serve,” the actor said.
Indran Sagar, a fan, who had made it to the event all the way from Malaysia, said that the actor had spoken about the importance of cleanliness even 20 years ago through his films.
“Thalaivaa (Kamal) said it in a song in his Nammavar film. But it is now the responsibility of the public to take efforts to keep it clean. Thalaivaa can only show the way,” he added.
Speaking to City Express, Arun Krishnamurthy said that his NGO was rallying hard for the government to permit them to restore the lake.
“Clean-up is only the first step in the lake’s restoration. This is our 25th clean-up drive in two years at the Madambakkam Lake. The local body (Madambakkam Town Panchayat) can make our task easier, if they could stop dumping here,” he said.