"Independent India's First Terrorist Was Hindu," Says Kamal Haasan In An Election Campaign
Actor-politician Kamal Haasan stoked a fresh controversy. The founder of Makkal Needhi Maiyam (MNM), addressing an election campaign at Aravakurichi in Tamil Nadu, said that a Hindu, Nathuram Godse, was independent India’s first ‘theevravaadi’, a Tamil word for extremist/terrorist. Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in 1948.
“Godse India’s first theevravaadi”
“I am not saying this because this is a Muslim-dominated area, but I am saying this before a statue of Gandhi. Independent India’s first ‘theevravadi’ was a Hindu, his name is Nathuram Godse. There it starts,” Hasaan said. He made the statement while campaigning in the Tamil Nadu district on the night of May 12.
He further added that he considers himself a ‘good Indian’, who desire for equality and ‘want the three colours in tricolour to remain intact’, referring to unity across different faiths.
Soon after the comments, Haasan was bombarded with severe condemnation from several quarters on expected lines. BJP state president Tamilsai Soundararajan said that while Gandhi’s assassination caused shock throughout the country and Godse was also hanged for the ‘heinous’ crime, it was ‘strongly condemnable’ that the phrase Hindu extremism was used in a Muslim dominated area. She called Haasan’s remark to be ‘mischievous and agenda-driven’. She also asked the Election Commission to take cognisance of the matter and take stringent action against Haasan.
Kamal Haasan’s party Makkal Needhi Maiyam dismissed the charges saying that the matter should be handled with ‘sense and should not be sensationalised’. However, Haasan himself is yet to provide any comment on what has now snowballed into a major controversy.
Makkal Needhi Maiam dismisses charges against Kamal Haasan, says that the matter should be handled with sense and not be sensationalised. #ITVideos
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— India Today (@IndiaToday) May 13, 2019
This is not the first time Hasaan has stirred the hornet’s nest. In November 2017 he said that extremism has infected the right-wing groups. This provoked strong reactions from the BJP and right-wing groups. Months later he said that he is not ‘anti-Hindu’, nor against any other religion.
The Logical Indian Take
Haasan has joined a list of politicians who invoke instances from past to fan the communal fire. Also, the fact that Haasan made such comment in a Muslim-majority area, reeks of political opportunism, even though he denies it. On the other hand, one might give him the benefit of doubt, considering that a narrative has been floated saying that Hindus have never, in course of history, been perpetrators of terror, which stands proven wrong.
While we appreciate the fact that Haasan ‘desires for equality’, we also find campaigning on the lines of religion and caste to be extremely problematic. Politicians and public representatives must talk about issues that concern the larger good of the people, development, about education, etc among others.