Actor Rajinikanth, who concluded his five-day ‘meet-and-greet’ session with his fans on Friday, seemed well prepared for some of the questions and criticisms that have been directed at him since he gave indications at the beginning of the week that he might take a political plunge sooner than later.
“Only criticism will help us all grow. I didn’t expect my comments about how one should be in politics to create such big news and trigger debates in the media. In politics, criticism is the capital. Without strong criticism, nobody can grow,” he said. However, he rued what he called the lack of civility in social media.
In fact, in what appeared to be a delicate balancing act, Mr. Rajinikanth listed the good qualities of political leaders of Tamil Nadu.
“Cho Ramaswamy (late Thuglak editor) used to say that Stalin will do wonders if he is given a free hand. He is a good administrator. Anbumani Ramadoss is also a well educated man with good ideas. Thirumavalavan is a good leader working for the uplift of Dalits. Seeman is a fighter and his ideas have amazed me at times. But, the system itself is rotten. Democracy is rotten. The way people think of democracy has changed drastically,” he said.
He further categorically stated that he is a ‘pure Tamil’. “I want to state this clearly: questions are raised about my non-Tamil origins. I am 67 years old now. I was in Karnataka only for the first 23 years of my life. I have spent 44 years in Tamil Nadu. Though I came here as a Marathi/Kannadiga, people of Tamil Nadu have given me money, fame and everything else. The people of Tamil Nadu have made me a Tamil by their unflinching support. I am a Tamil to the core. My forefathers were from Krishnagiri district.”
He added that if some in Tamil Nadu were to ask him to leave the State, he would rather go to Himalayas than settle down in any other State.