South India must unite under Dravidian identity, Kamal Haasan says

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CHENNAI: Actor Kamal Haasan believes that the collective voice of a south India united under Dravidian identity would be strong enough to dictate terms to the central government. The actor, who had already announced that he would begin a state-wide tour from Ramanathapuram district on February 21, has now revealed that late President A P J Abdul Kalam’s residence will be the starting point of his tour.
Kamal made the comments in a weekly column he pens for a Tamil magazine. The veteran actor, who is referred to as Ulaganayagan (world leader) among his fans, had recently announced his intent is to enter politics.

The actor wrote that Tamil Nadu was among the top states contributing significantly to the nation’s tax revenue. “Some say that (the Centre) is collecting taxes here (Tamil Nadu) and using it to develop north Indian states. My opinion is that is how it works in a joint family,” the actor wrote.

“The big brother, who is the breadwinner, will look after the unemployed younger brothers in a (joint) family. But the younger ones should not take the elder sibling for a fool and leave him hungry,” he added.

It is in this regard, the actor let out a clarion call to the chief ministers of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala to find pride in embracing their Dravidian identities.

“Chandrababu Naidu (chief minister of Andhra Pradesh), Chandrashekar Rao (CM of Telangana), Siddaramaiah (CM of Karnataka) and Pinarayi Vijayan (CM of Kerala) are all Dravidians. If the Dravidian identity is imbibed all over south India, the discrimination (from the Centre) which we complain about now will vanish. Together, our voices will become a loud chorus that will allow us to talk to Delhi,” he wrote.

To illustrate his opinion, Kamal cited the example of Lord Shiva. “There is no shame in being known as the Shiva of south India. It just shows that He is omnipresent in all the (southern) states. Dravidianism is like (Shiva),” he wrote, before adding a disclaimer: “I am not advocating the dissolution of Tamil or other languages to create a combined, common tongue. Ethnicity, self-respect and love for your language should not change. This applies to all of India. (What I advocate) is what Nehru observed – unity in diversity.”

The 63-year-old took exception to the extremes in which the Dravidian movement was viewed by sections in the society.

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Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

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