Kamal Haasan has been surrounded by political controversies for a while now. He recently courted fresh trouble when he spoke about ‘Hindu extremism’ in his weekly column for a Tamil magazine. The actor, who extensively spoked to the media on the occasion of his 63rd birthday on Tuesday, said the exact meaning of his words was lost in translation.
Saying that he hails from a Hindu family and never wants to hurt their sentiments, Kamal clarified that he did not mean “terror” when he was discussing the violence in the ranks of the Hindu outfits.
“The word I used in Tamil is theeviram like how you would describe a fan, who is extremely fond of you. It means extreme. This was interpreted as terror,” said the Vishwaroopam actor, who made it clear that floating his own political party was just a matter of time.
At the press conference held on Tuesday in Chennai, he also added, “I definitely don’t want to hurt Hindu sentiments as I myself come from a Hindu family. Even though I have taken a different path, I don’t want to upset members in my family. I’m actually scared of my family because they wield a powerful weapon called love. I will be reduced to tears if they deny me that (love). I won’t say something just to hurt sentiments of Hindus,” he explained.
He reiterated that nobody should indulge in violence in the name of their religion.
Kamal’s opinion received sharp reactions from the BJP party and other Hindu outfits, including defamation cases and death threats.
A leader of Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Mahasabha reportedly said Kamal should be shot dead or hanged for his comments, which were perceived as “anti-Hindu”. Kamal was asked to respond to that hostile reaction during a Townhall meeting with senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai.
Kamal responded to it in a Gandhian way referring to a Whatsapp message that was being circulated. “Somebody has put out a Whatsapp message. I wish I had put it out. I didn’t think of it. Because I wanted to keep everyone calm. I think it came from Kerala, obviously,” he said. “It says, I’m Kamal Haasan shoot me. Let it be the last killing. I will allow you the public execution. Shoot me but promise me that you will stop with this.”
When he was asked whether he was referring to the killings of rationalist such as Kalburgi, Dabholkar, Pansare and Gauri Lankesh, he responded saying “Yes.” But, he said he was not just blaming right-wing ideologues just in Hindu community for the violent atmosphere in the country. “Right-wing in any community is responsible for these killings. Why would I leave out Muslims or Christians,” he added.
He also said he will continue to oppose violence in any form. “I will not raise a gun but, at the same time, I will also not keep quiet,” he said.