Having recently joined Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra in Delhi, veteran actor Kamal Haasan on Sunday said he would have walked the streets of the national capital during the Emergency as well if he had that much sense of politics in the 1970s.
Speaking on the concluding day of the sixth Kerala Literature Festival, the actor-turned-politician clarified that one should not mistake his being part of the yatra to leaning towards a “party” as he did that for a “united India”.
“…if I had this much sense of politics in the 1970s and there was Emergency, I would have walked the streets of Delhi. Please do not mistake this (my joining the Bharat Jodo Yatra) as my leaning towards a party; This was for a united India,” Haasan said.
The yatra, which started from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on September 7, will conclude in Srinagar by January 30 with Gandhi hoisting the national flag in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Makkal Needhi Maiam chief said he joined politics because he was “angry”, adding that he wanted to give back to the society and the people that had given him so much love for over six decades.
“I came into politics because I am angry. I thought I must come into politics, I must have my effect on politics before it has its ill-effects on me,” he stated.
The 68-year-old actor, who described himself as a “Centrist”, said he was someone who “runs from the Right towards the Left while holding on to its Centrist views”.
Plurality is what India is, which will take a “long act to kill”, Hassan said while calling “monoculture” bad in every field — be it agriculture, politics or writing.
“It will live on… Genocide is the only way to make secular India into a monocultural India, and we will not allow it. I used to be an angry young man, now I am an angry old man but India still remains young in my mind and will remain so,” he said to thunderous applause.
Billed as one of Asia’s biggest literature meets, the Kerala Literature Festival concluded at Kozhikode beach on Sunday, having recorded the participation of as many as 400 speakers from 12 countries over four days.
An eclectic mix of literary and culture icons, the list of speakers included 2022 Booker Prize winner Shehan Karunatilaka, Nobel laureates Ada Yonath and Abhijit Banerjee, American Indologist Wendy Doniger, writer-politician Shashi Tharoor, children’s book author Sudha Murty and singer Usha Uthup.
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