MADURAI: Finding himself in the centre of a raging controversy over his "free India's first extremist was a Hindu" remark, Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan Wednesday said he had only spoken about what was a 'historic truth.' His party claimed that his comments in this connection on Sunday had been taken "completely out of context."
Truth will be bitter and bittenress can turn into a medicine, curing people's disease, Haasan said.
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In his first response after the Sunday remarks that landed him in trouble with court and police cases, the actor-politician asked his detractors to make "valid allegations", asking if he could cater to only one section of people after entering active politics.
"They got angry for what I spoke at Aravakurichi. What I spoke (there) is historic truth. I did not lure anyone to a brawl," he said during a by-poll campaign at Tirupurankundram near here.
He said truth would triumph like the "historic truth I mentioned" and not caste and religion.
"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 while resorting to wordplay in Tamil to drive home his point.
The MNM leader alleged that his speech was edited selectively and took a dig at his detractors, saying the charges levelled against him "apply to my media friends also."
He asked if his critics could show instances of his remarks that could incite violence and said the accusations against him had hurt him.
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"They are saying I hurt Hindu sentiments. There are so many Hindus in my family. My daughter is a believer," he said, but did not specify as he has two daughters.
Haasan said many others in his family were Hindus and wondered why he would make remarks that could hurt them.
He suggested that rather than tolerance towards each other, there should be a concept of co-existence.
"Will you tolerate or accept another faith... co-existence is the need. You can tolerate headache, but have to accept younger brother (the minorities, apparently)," he said.
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"To insult me, don't harp on my ideology, you will lose. Because honesty is the basis of my ideology which you dont have. You have made lies your basis and buiding a castle upon that.. you may be anywhere, whether in Delhi or Chennai, you can't fool people for long by saying lies," he said without mentioning anyone.
Haasan, whose Makkal Needhi Maiam roughly translates into English as 'People's Justice Centre', said he would always serve all sections of society, irrespective of their caste, creed or race.
"Otherwise what justice can people get?" he asked.
Stoking a controversy, Haasan had said on Sunday that "free India's first extremist was a Hindu", referring to Nathuram Godse, who killed Mahatma Gandhi.
"I am not saying this because this is Muslim-dominated area, but I am saying this before a statue of Gandhi. Free India's first extremist was a Hindu, his name is Nathuram Godse.
There it (extremism, apparently) starts," he had said in bypoll-bound Aravakurichi.
Meanwhile, MNM Vice President R Mahendran said his party chief's Aravakurichi speech "has been taken completely out of context with a malafide intent and view to promote enmity amongst people and for the ulterior benefits of such groups."
This was done at the "behest of certain political groups," he alleged in a statement.
"In the speech Mr.Kamal Haasan was calling for religious tolerance and co-existence amongst all religious groups and condemned extremism in whichever form and religion.
This has been taken absolutely out of context and the speech has been painted as anti-Hindu, with a malafide intent.
This has created complete confusion and utmost anxiety amongst many common citizens who are not privy to this larger conspiracy," Mahendran added.
He said MNM stood for harmony across all sections of people and religions and was for co-existence amongst all groups.