Two incidents this week that made Tamil Nadu discuss atheism
news Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute | September 6, 2014 | 10.30 pm IST Tamil Nadu has recently been discussing atheism as practised by one of its most popular political parties and one of its most popular film personalities. Non-support to religious groups and festivals has been a stated position of the DMK, and Kamal Haasan has often questioned religion. So why then, were they seen as going back on their position on religion/faith? The DMK is a party that swears by atheism as advocated by EVR Periyar. For decades the party has practised the norm of not greeting during Hindu festivals (exceptions were made for Muslim and Christian festivals) So when DMK treasurer Stalinâ€™s Facebook, Twitter page and website wished people â€˜Happy Vinayaka Chathurthiâ€™, it was greeted with uproar and suspicion. Some were of course thankful to Stalin for setting a new trend. A Facebook user said, "A true atheist should not extend greetings for any religious festival. If the greeting is extended for the public then it should be done for all religious festivals. The DMK has not followed that. Thanks to Stalin for correcting that mistake". Read-Â No Sun for Stalin and why astrologers in Tamil Nadu are busy But DMK leaders definitely did not think Stalin was correcting a mistake and the post was taken out. In a statement issued, the party said the greeting was issued without Stalin's prior permission and not as per his wish. The blame was quickly put on the IT team and the statement said the greeting was issued by enthusiastic people who were maintaining Stalin's social media sites. The DMK lately has been trying to rebrand itself, even embracing Hindi to an extent, and as discussion on Stalinâ€™s Vinayaka Chathurthi was progressing, a news report popped up of another atheist visiting a mutt. This time it was actor Mr Kamal Haasan in the news for visiting the Vanamamalai mutt in Nanguneri of Tirunnelveli district, Tamil Nadu. The actorâ€™s visit has surprised many because he is an ardent atheist and questions the existence of religious faiths. The actor had met the muttâ€™s chief Srimath Paramahamsa Ithyadhi Madhurakavi Vanamamalai Ramanuja Jiyar Swamy and sought blessings from him. Haasanâ€™s atheism in evident in most of the films that he writes, directs and acts especially in the ones like Anbe Sivam and Dasavataaram. His views on religion are so strong that he once said thus. â€˜Religion should be treated as personal as sexâ€™.Â It is curious as to why a person with no belief what so ever in God and questions all religious faiths has visited and sought blessings from a saint.Â The DMK called Stalinâ€™s post a mistake, Kamal Haasanâ€™s fans argued that he met he mutt leader to study the lifestyles and get into the character. (he may play in future) Whether it was a mistake or a visit for an acting lesson, the debate has been ignited whether beliefs are being changed at convenience.