ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Tamil Politics without Caste?

Film stars Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth are gearing up for the next elections. Rajinikanth wishes to promote a politics based on spirituality, while Haasan is committed to secularism. But both of them have one aim, which is to eradicate corruption from public life in Tamil Nadu. However, this rhetoric of “corruption-free” politics is, in fact, a façade for promoting a politics that sidelines questions of caste inequalities.

Matinee idols Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth, born in 1954 and 1950 respectively, have entered the political scene in Tamil Nadu. On 21 February 2018, Haasan announced the name of his party (Makkal Needhi Maiam) and hoisted the party flag in the presence of Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi, accompanied by felicitations from the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan via a video projection. Rajinikanth, who had earlier announced his intention to contest elections in all the 234 assembly constituencies of the state, has now spoken of building the party structure before launching his party.

The primary reason for entering politics, according to both, is to weed out corruption from the system. They claim that things have come to such a pass that they could no longer remain spectators; they needed to intervene in the interest of the people who had given them success as film stars. The masses have been kind to them; they now feel obliged to return the favour by giving the people corruption-free governance. It may occur to ask why, if their purposes are similar, the old friends cannot come together in their mission. The answer is that there is a clear difference in their approaches. Rajinikanth is oriented to a politics of spirituality while Kamal Haasan to that of rationality. Hence, as Rajinikanth has proclaimed, their paths are different but their destination is the same: the welfare of the people.

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Updated On : 23rd Apr, 2018

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