Tamil Nadu

We need to acquire immunity without totally leaving it in nature’s hands, says Kamal Haasan

Actor-turned-politician and Makkal Needhi Maiam president Kamal Haasan   | Photo Credit: M. Periasamy

In an effort to seek “action plans” and answers to “common man’s questions”, Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan will be in conversation with Kerala’s Health Minister K.K. Shailaja Teacher on Sunday morning, along with Ramanan Lakshminarayanan, founder and director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) in Washington D.C., and psychiatrist Shalini, to cut through the misinformation spread via social media about the COVID-19 pandemic. The conversation will be live on the party’s (Maiam) YouTube channel and Mr. Haasan’s Instagram handle.

In a quick telephonic conversation a day ahead of the dialogue, Mr. Haasan said that he would be discussing the ‘new normal’ in the post-COVID-19 society. “There are two reasons why I am doing it,” he said. “They are qualified. And we are sort of bombarded with gossip. It is what they say -- getting wisdom from WhatsApp University. I am not talking about WhatsApp itself, but its users who are spreading all sorts of information – most times, it is confusing and alarming. What we are trying to do is talk to the experts and look at the new normal after COVID-19. We want to discuss practical problems – instead of waxing eloquent on theories – and look at action plans,” said Mr. Haasan.

He suggested that there are many lessons to be learnt from their experiences. “There are going to be many phases (of COVID-19 break out) and we have to acquire immunity without leaving it totally in nature’s hands,” said Mr. Haasan, adding that this will be an effort to bring that wisdom into Tamil Nadu. Mr. Haasan also pointed out how, in times like these, “citizens partnership and knowledge” is important to develop a basic know-how and suggestions on what are good and bad practices to ensure our well-being.

Heaping praise on Kerala’s Health Minister, K.K. Shailaja Teacher, Mr. Haasan said that she is one of the very few Ministers who seems to know what she is talking about. “Being a science teacher, she has approached the issues scientifically and logically. Kerala government has functioned autonomously [in this pandemic],” he said.

Asked if he thought the Opposition parties have adequately performed their duties, Mr. Haasan suggested that Opposition must also think about how right we can be. “In politics, I don’t like calling one party as the Opposition. It is semantics and linguistics. You don’t have to be enemies as people also have given their votes to them (Opposition). Opposition should also think about ‘How right we can be’. That is what I am trying to do,” he said.

In a similar vein, he added that he also doesn’t like the term ‘lockdown’. “We borrowed the word from China, whose authoritarian government had used it. I prefer the term ‘Stay At Home’ or ‘Home alone’.

While admitting that the Tamil Nadu Government is not “floundering” unlike first-world countries such as the United States of America, there are many areas where they could have done better, he said.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 10:33:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/we-need-to-acquire-immunity-without-totally-leaving-it-in-natures-hands-says-kamal-haasan/article31710207.ece

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