Stirring yet another communal controversy, Makkal Needhi Maiam Chief Kamal Haasan on Friday, by sharing a letter claiming that the term 'Hindu' was not a part of Indian culture and was labelled by foreign invaders and was endorsed by Mughal and Britishers. He has further claimed that there is no reference to the word 'Hindu' in Shavaite and Vaishnaivite writings by ancient saints.
The letter read:
"The 12 Alwars ( ancient Vaishnavite saints) or 63 Nayanmars ( Ancient shaivite saints) did not make a reference about the word Hindu anywhere, We were names as Hindus by Mughals or other foreign rulers who came before Mughals. The Britishers who ruled us followed and endorsed the same word. It is ignorant on our part to use a name given by non-native rulers when we had our own identity. The identity of ours is Indian, it could be the latest one, But that is the one which will last forever. It is not good to confine the whole broader nation into a religion set up, it will mess up the commerce, polity and spirituality. In normal terms: Living with unity will have crores of benefits - this is a famous Tamil saying which is been repeated many times for Tamils."
Earlier on Friday, Haasan had made a controversial remark saying that extremists exist in all religions and no religion was above this in response to the question whether he felt he had hurt Hindu sentiments.
"Terrorists are in all religions. In history, you can list terrorists in all religions. I was talking in that sense that no religion can claim that we are sanctimonious and do not have any terrorists. I will reach out to all communities (Hindu, Muslim, Christianity). One must see who is a Hindu and what is RSS separately. But religious heads have some grievances I think. We (MNM) have not instigated any of their responses. We seek harmony. Madurai Court has directed me to not speak of this issue anymore," said the MNM Chief.
The entire controversy involving the 'Hindu Terror' statement started when Haasan on Sunday said that free India's first terrorist was a Hindu, in reference to Mahatma Gandhi's assailant Nathuram Godse. Making open references to various religions, Kamal Haasan put forth that he was among the 'proud Indians' who desire a nation that espouses equality and where the 'three colours' of the Tricolour remain intact.
"I am not saying this because this is a Muslim-dominated area," Haasan prefaced his remarks, adding, "but I am saying this before a statue of Gandhi. Free India's first terrorist was a Hindu, his name is Nathuram Godse. There it began."