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India: An openly secular political leader

Monday 12 February 2018, by siawi3

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/ahead-of-political-debut-kamal-haasan-says-he-is-not-anti-hindu-5048022/

Ahead of political debut, Kamal Haasan says he is not anti-Hindu

"I came out of my religion and caste in search of truth. But I do not want to glorify or ridicule anything. Neither am I an atheist. I would say I am a rationalist," Kamal Haasan had said earlier.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi

Published: February 1, 2018 7:22 pm

Photo: Ahead of political debut, Kamal Haasan says he is not anti-Hindu Kamal Haasan (File)

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Actor Kamal Haasan who is all set to launch his own political party, on Thursday said he is neither anti-Hindu nor against any other religion. Stating that his own brother Chandrahaasan and daughter Shruthi Haasan were “devout,” he said he viewed Christianity and Islam in a “similar” manner.

Writing in his political column in Tamil weekly ‘Ananda Vikatan,’ Haasan said, “Some are making efforts to create an appearance as if I am against some and favourably disposed towards others. Some are saying I am anti-Hindu.” He also added that he had equal regard for leaders including Mahatma Gandhi, Dr Ambedkar and ‘Periyar’ E V Ramasamy. “I am not against anyone” he said, adding that he was following the same line among his fan club members as well.

Haasan has usually refrained from taking an extreme stand in the debate on religion. “I belong to a Hindu family. It is a fact that my grandmother and my elder brothers were all following the same tradition. But I came out of my religion and caste in search of truth. But I do not want to glorify or ridicule anything. Neither am I an atheist. I would say I am a rationalist,” he had said.

Read | Kamal Haasan says right-wing Hindu terror a reality now

The actor is soon expected to take a plunge in politics and will travel across Tamil Nadu to learn and understand about people’s problems. His meetings are scheduled to start from February 21 and will be interactive in nature. “I need to talk to people. Since they have allowed me to enter politics, preparations are to be made to work for them,” Haasan had said earlier.

Haasan had sparked a controversy in November over his comments on right-wing extremism. “In the past, Hindu right-wing groups would not indulge in violence, but hold a dialogue with opposite parties on their arguments. But this old tactic was defeated and they started using muscle power. They started indulging in violence. The right-wing cannot challenge anyone asking the question — show me one Hindu terrorist. Terror has spread into their camp as well,” the actor had written in his column.

The remark drew flak from Hindu outfits with BJP calling his remarks “myopic and brazen.” A complaint was lodged with police against the actor by Shiv Sena and other right wing outfits for his Hindu extremist remark. The actor later asserted that his intention was not to hurt Hindus, but rather to oppose violence in the name of any religion.

(With inputs from PTI)