Mind your tongue

Each and every word uttered by politicians is subjected to scrutiny, and, hence, they should be careful in what they speak. The latest person in Tamilnadu political arena to find himself in a huge controversy for his speech is actor-politician Kamal Haasan, founder of Makkal Needhi Maiam. After he said at a recent election campaign that “free India’s first extremist was a Hindu”, protests are being conducted against him across the country, cases are being filed and leaders from other parties, especially the BJP and AIADMK, are slamming him for his remarks.

After cancelling his campaigning (for by-elections) for two days, Kamal came out in the open Wednesday and gave an explanation for his controversial speech, which was made in a Muslim-dominated area. “Understand the meaning for the word extremist. I could have used the word terrorist or murderer (against Godse)… ours is active politics, there won’t be any violence,” he said in his typical style. Alleging that his speech was edited selectively, he took a dig at his detractors, saying the charges levelled against him “apply to my media friends also”.

Though he has asked if his critics could show instances of his remarks that could incite violence and said the accusations against him had hurt him, Kamal’s speech that “free India’s first extremist was a Hindu”, referring to Nathuram Godse who killed Mahatma Gandhi, was totally avoidable. That too, he should not have spoken it in a Muslim-dominated area. By doing this, Kamal, who was hitherto seen as an alternative to Dravidian leaders known for their Hindu bashing and minority appeasement acts, has raised the suspicion whether he is one among them.

NT Bureau