'If Mahatma Gandhi could fight to eradicate corruption at the age of 78, why can't I try at 60?'
Be it a controversy over the Tamil version of Bigg Boss or his iconoclastic views or his pot-shots at politics and politicians, Kamal Haasan can't stay out of the headlines these days.
On Thursday, August 10, he startled political observers when he shared the dais with Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Working President M K Stalin at an event in Chennai.
Superstar Rajinikanth chose to sit in the audience at the event, by the way.
Is Kamal Haasan finally taking the political plunge? Subhash K Jha asked him.
You are back in the news.
This is not what I want to do, or be.
I am not here to make news.
I have much larger plans which have nothing to do with me.
Are you finally taking a plunge into active politics?
Did I say that? What makes you think that?
You were at a DMK event on Thursday.
I was, and I am glad I did.
I was there not as a political animal, but in support of and admiration for the DMK newspaper Murasoli which completed 75 years.
Seventy five years in this era of instant news and overnight journalism! Wouldn't you want me to be there with you when you complete 75 years?
I doubt it.
What? That you will complete 75 years? Or that I will be on stage with you?
Both. But tell me when you made that jibe from the stage about how you would rather do things for self-respect than self-defence, were you aiming at Rajinikanth?
Why would I want to take a jibe at my friend and colleague whom I've known and loved for 40 years?
Mr Jha, you want me to heckle a dear friend?
Well, it seemed like that's exactly what you were doing.
Then it seemed wrong.
I was taking an aim at all those who refuse to stand up against corruption.
When you don't take a stand against corruption you tacitly support it.
And I am not talking about only the corruption in Tamil politics I am looking at a pan-Dravidian India, free of corruption.
How can you single-handedly free Indian politics of corruption?
Let me at least try. Do you mind?
If my idol Mahatma Gandhi could fight to eradicate corruption at the age of 78, why can't I try at 60?
Do you see corruption as the scourge of Indian politics?
I absolutely do.
And I want to fight it until my dying breath.
The whites took their skin-deep whiteness with them but left behind the blackness of corruption.
Today, that blackness is destroying the very fabric of our democracy.
What according to you is the solution?
A performance-oriented democracy.
Make our representatives in Parliament accountable. They cannot sit in power for five years without showing results.
We should work towards a legislation to sack non-performing politicians.
This may not happen during my lifetime, but I will try for it anyway.
Are you joining the DMK?
That question again.
Mr Jha, are you looking for your headline for the day?
No, I am not joining the DMK.
But I am in support of any organisation that stands against corruption.
Like I said, I was up there to support their newspaper's platinum jubilee.
They (the DMK) had sent me a telegram to join their party 30 years ago.
Are you responding to that telegram now?
No, I would rather be like Mahatma Gandhi, sending out my own telegrams to the world.
In fact, my daughters call me Bapu.
What according to you ails Indian politics?
We are not exercising our democratic rights properly. We need to stop looking for solutions in others.
All of are politicians waiting for our political calling.
If we don't listen to those warnings within our heart we will destroy our hard-earned freedom.