Did Gandhi return barrister degree, because British were ruling us, asks Kamal Hassan

Chennai: Lambasting critics for accusing him of “irresponsibility” and “callousness” for not returning national award in protest against ” growing intolerance” in the nation, thespian Kamal Hassan said here on Saturday, “You don’t expect Gandhiji to return his barrister degree to the British because the British were ruling us. That would be irresponsible, and I’m not going to be that irresponsible.”

Defending his decision not to return his award, the matinee idol said, “When I said I would not return my awards, it’s because that award is given by a jury and not by this government or by the previous government. I respect the jury, they appear to be people of intelligence who had thought I am worthy of it. I salute them.”

Hassan said if he had something against to say the government, he had so many other podiums to vent out his anger. “I am sure all those people who have returned their awards also have a podium, they should use it. They should raise their voices against any government, not necessarily against this government, but any government that stifles their right of free speech or way of life,” said the veteran actor.

Clearing the air over suspicions of him leaning towards the BJP, he said, “People sometimes suspect I’m leaning towards the ruling party, and thus, saying these things. I’m not ruled, I rule parties. I’m a son of this nation, and I vote them into positions. I don’t feel ruled at all. That is why we did away with kings.”

“They are running a government for us, for me. If they are doing well, we will appreciate them. But if we find some flaw, we will voice it, and any sensible government will hear it. And if they don’t, we will raise our voices,” he added.