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Kamal Haasan Controversy: Tamil Superstar’s Comment on ‘Hindu Terror’ Fetches him Backlash and Court Case

The BJP was quick to react to Kamal Haasan’s comment and called him a "wannabe MGR", signaling to his attempt to be like the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu and AIADMK party founder MG Ramachandran.

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Kamal Haasan
Kamal Haasan's comment in his weekly column in the Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan has landed him in the middle of a controversy. Wikimedia

Varanasi, November 4, 2017 : Tamil Superstar Kamal Haasan’s remark on ‘saffron terror’ landed him in the middle of a controversy. In his weekly column in the Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan, the actor asserted that the right wing cannot deny the influence of ‘extremist elements’ in its cadre.

His statement not only sought him backlash from the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), but also fetched him a court case for ‘hurting’ religious sentiments.

Moved by lawyer Kamlesh Chandra Tripathi, a court in Varanasi will today hear a plea against Kamal Haasan, against his comment.

What is the Kamal Haasan Controversy All About?

Through his column in the Tamil weekly magazine, Kamal Haasan wrote that, “Extremism has spread into their (right wing) camp as well.”

He further elaborated his belief on Hindu extremism and wrote “Hindus are losing faith in ‘satyameva jayate’ and instead subscribing to ‘might is right’,” which earned him the wrath of staunch Hindu supporters.

Kamal Haasan’s controversial comment came in response to Kerala CM Pinari Vijayan’s question, who sought the actor’s opinion on the underlying communalism seeking to destroy the tradition of peaceful co-existence apparent in the Tamil Dravidian society.

The Kamal Haasan controversy also coincides with the superstar’s entry into politics.

Reactions to Kamal Haasan’s Comment

The BJP was quick to react to Kamal Haasan’s comment and called him a “wannabe MGR”, signaling to his attempt to be like the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu and AIADMK party founder MG Ramachandran.

RSS partisan Rakesh Sinha also took to Twitter and demanded Kamal Haasan to render an apology.

Colleagues from the film industry Khushbu Sundar and Prakash Raj however seemed to be in agreement with Kamal Haasan’s comment.

The actress applauded fellow actor Prakash Raj for voicing his opinion on the issue.

Case Against Kamal Haasan

Following his comment on ‘Hindu terror’, a case has been filed against Kamal Haasan in a Varanasi court.

The complaint has been registered under several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in appropriation to defamation and attempt to cause offence. Additionally, the case has also been registered as an attempt to hurt religious sentiments and incite communal disharmony.

Kamal Haasan’s comment comes right before he is preparing to kick start his political career.

Kamal Haasan has been contemplating launching his own political party, and has been vocal about the same.

The Tamil superstar had previously met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in September this year and discussed his views on recruitment of “young, fresh faces” for the new party.

Furthermore, he had asked his fans to be ready for a “big announcement” on his birthday, November 7.

 

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Naseeruddin Shah Controversy: Is He An Anti-Nationalist?

It is strange how I never thought of Naseeruddin Shah as a Muslim until now when his religious identity is being used against him to prove he is anti-national.

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Naseeruddin Shah
Why is Naseeruddin Shah under attack? (Column: Bollywood Spotlight)

It is strange how I never thought of Naseeruddin Shah as a Muslim until now when his religious identity is being used against him to prove he is anti-national.

But hang on. Why is Naseer anti-national? Because he expressed trepidation about the future of this country and, more specifically, his children.

Here is what Naseer said: “The poison has already spread. It will be very difficult to capture this djinn back in the bottle. There is complete impunity for those who take law into their own hands. In many areas we are witnessing that the death of a cow has more significance than that of a police officer. I feel anxious thinking about my children. Because they don’t have a religion. Tomorrow if a mob surrounds them and asks ‘Are you a Hindu or a Muslim’, they will have no answer. It worries me because I don’t see the situation improving anytime soon.”

I think he is pretty unique filmmaker
Naseeruddin Shah’s Controversy

I am a little lost after repeatedly reading this. Which part of the observation is anti-national? Have we all not felt the same terror grip our hearts in recent times as mobs decided to lynch alleged cattle-offenders? Or set on fire a rape victim who doesn’t withdraw her case against her offenders? Don’t we all worry about our children? Except maybe Anupam Kher, who thinks everything is hunky-dory in India today.

But you never know what will be deemed “anti-national” in today’s super-charged atmosphere of pseudo-patriotism, will you? Is it anti-national to say Vivek Oberoi playing the Prime Minister is a bit of a joke? Or is it seditious to suggest that demonetisation was a demoniacal disaster? Am I going to be branded anti-national for defending Naseer’s right to defend his family? Is it right to book him a ticket to Karachi because he spoke about his insecurities?

But I am happy to inform you that Naseer is not going anywhere. He is not wrong in feeling anxious about the future. And if he speaks up about his insecurities and is slammed for it, then isn’t it proof that he’s right in feeling insecure?

As the outspoken Swara Bhaskar said to me: “Quite simply, the attack on Naseeruddin Shah proves his point more than anything else. Intolerance is a government-approved malaise in this new Hindustan of ours.”

My dear Shabana Azmi is right in saying there should be some amount of distinction between the government and the national identity. If one criticises the government, one is not being anti-national. If one doesn’t watch Anupam Kher play Manmohan Singh, one is not pro-Congress. And if one disagrees with Mrs Kirron Kher that “The Accidental Prime Minister” (which coincidentally stars her husband) should be sent to the Oscars, one is not anti-national either.

The country is in the grip of an unprecedented culture of conformity. Everybody must love certain politicians to qualify as a true Indian. And if you have any reservations about any of the government’s policies (including reservations) you will be booked an air ticket to Pakistan. Or worse, forced to watch Vivek Oberoi play our Prime Minister on the day the film releases.

I threw away my Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Mehndi Hassan CDs the day Mrs Kher declared her husband’s film Oscar-worthy without seeing it. Am I a good Indian? (Bollywood Country)