On March 24, PM Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown of 21 days to control the spread of deadly COVID-19. After Modi's announcement, many people in the country are obeying his orders and have quarantined themselves for three weeks. However, some miscreants are breaking the rules and roaming on the road for no reason.
Apart from that, people also came out on the road when PM Narendra Modi asked to light diyas and torch at 9 pm for 9 minutes from their balconies to show solidarity in the war against the Novel Coronavirus. But this time too, some people broke the rule and came out on roads and burnt firecrackers. Considering this issue, Kamal Haasan shared an open letter to PM Modi on social media in which he criticised his decision of 21 days lockdown.
Sharing the open letter on his Twitter handle, Kamal Haasan wrote, "My open letter to the Honourable Prime Minister @PMOIndia @narendramodi".
In an open letter, Kamal Haasan states, "Respected Sir, I pen this letter as a responsible but dismayed citizen of our country. In my first letter to you dated 23rd March, I had urged the government to not lose sight of the plight of the unsung heroes of our society, the most downtrodden, the weak and the dependent. The very next day, the nation heard the announcement of a strict and immediate lockdown, almost demonetisation style. I was taken aback but I chose to trust you, my elected leader, the one we would like to believe knows best. I had chosen to trust you even when you announced demonetisation but time proved I was wrong. Time proved you too were wrong sir."
Kamal Haasan praised PM Narendra Modi's mass appeal. He stated further, "My biggest fear is that the same mistake of demonetisation is being repeated albeit at a much bigger scale. While demonetisation led to loss of savings and livelihood of the poorest, this ill-planned lockdown is leading us to a fatal combination of loss of both life and livelihood. The poor have nobody to look up to except you sir. On one hand you are asking the more privileged people to put up a spectacle of lights while on the other hand the poor man's plight is itself becoming a shameful spectacle. While your world lit up oil diyas in their balconies, the poor are struggling to gather enough oil to bake their next roti."
"Your last two addresses to the nation had you trying to calm the people which is necessary in these trying times but there is something more urgent as well as important than that. These psychotherapy techniques can address the first world anxiety problems of the 'haves' who have a balcony to cheer. But what about those who don't even have a roof on their heads? I am sure you don't want to be a balcony government only for the balcony people by completely ignoring the poor who are biggest constituent of our society, our support system and the foundation on which the middle-class, the well-to-do and the rich build their lives. The poor man never makes it to the front page news but his contribution to nation building both in spirit and in GDP cannot be ignored. He has a majority stake in the nation. History has proven that any efforts to destroy the bottom has led to the toppling of the top. Even science will agree here!" Kamal Haasan added.
Talking about theconcern of middle-class people and daily wage workers, Kamal Haasan expressed, "This is the first crisis, the first epidemic that the top of the society has inflicted upon the bottom. And the topmost, i.e, you sir seem interested in bailing out everybody but those at the bottom. As millions of daily wage labourers, house-helps, street-cart vendors, auto-rickshaw & taxi drivers and helpless migrant workers struggle to see light at the end of the tunnel, we seem to be securing only an already well-built middle-class fortress. Don't get me wrong sir, I am not suggesting we ignore the middle-class or any one segment. In fact, I am suggesting the exact opposite. I would like to see you doing more to secure everybody's fortress and ensure that nobody goes to bed hungry. COVID-19 will continue to find more victims but we are creating a fertile playground for Hunger(H), Exhaustion(E) and Deprivation(D) of the poor. HED '20 is a malady that is smaller in profile but far deadlier compared to COVID-19.It's impact will be felt long after COVID-19 has vanished."
The actor also criticised the people who are creating problems in different parts of the country. He wrote, "The focus on merely keeping people's spirits alive through warm and fuzzy campaigning is probably leading your establishment into ignoring certain actionables that could actually save lives. Long into the epidemic, when the entire country's law and order system had been primed, your system failed to stop congregations of ignorant and foolish people in different parts of the country. These have become the biggest hubs for the spread of the epidemic in India. Who is responsible for all the lives lost due to this negligence?"
Kamal Haasan said that PM Modi took too much time to take some decisions and added, "As per the Chinese government's official statement to the WHO, the first confirmed case was reported on 8th December. Even if you concede the fact that the world took a lot of time to understand the gravity of the situation, by early February, the entire world knew that this is going to wreak havoc of an unprecedented kind. India's first case was reported on 30th of January. We had seen what happened to Italy. Yet, we did not learn our lessons early enough. When we eventually woke out of our slumber, you ordered an entire nation of 1.4 bn people to shut down within 4 hours. A mere 4 hour notice period for the people when you had a 4 month notice period! Visionary leaders are ones who work on solutions long before problems become big."
"I am sorry to say that sir, this time your vision failed. Furthermore, your government and its appointees seem to be expending all their energies on a combative response to any feedback or constructive criticism. Sane, well-wishing voices with national interests in mind get quickly, intentionally and clinically drowned by the trolls of your army and are dubbed anti-national," he wrote.
Kamal Haasan also warned people to not call him anti-national for criticising PM. He states, "I dare anyone to call me an anti-national this time. The common populace cannot be blamed for being ill-prepared for a crisis of this magnitude but you can be and shall be blamed for this. The government is appointed and paid by the people to keep their lives normal and safe. Events of these magnitude get etched in history for two reasons, one being the devastation (illness and death) that they cause due to their core nature. The second being the long term impact of what they teach humans to prioritise and the kind of socio-cultural changes they bring about. I am extremely saddened to see our society plagued by an outbreak that is far more dangerous and longer lasting that any virus that nature has ever hurled at us."
However, on the other side, Kamal Haasan also confessed that he is on PM Narendra Modi's side. He concluded his letter by stating, "Sir, this is the time to listen to voices who truly care. I do care. It's the time to smudge all boundaries and give a clarion call to everyone to come on to your side and help. India's biggest potential is its human potential and we have tided over bigger crises in the past. We will overcome this too but it must be done in a way that brings everyone together and doesn't become yet another reason to choose sides."
Despite saying not to be called anti-national, Kamal Haasan was again trolled for his opinions on Twitter.
Vandy @DrsVandana #KamalHaasan. Very easy to point finger at a leadership which has the guts to take tough decisions. We would have been in a worse situation if the congress aka pappu govt was in power. Thankless fools like you wont cease to exist.
Amol Ulhas @AmolUlhas1 Your original chachi 420 as ur double sided. Speak about other issues too. Appreciate early measures taken by the the govt. Never seen you condemning issues like delhi nizamuddin. Come on elections r not in a month or two #KamalHaasan
Gayathri Raguramm @gayathriraguram Why don't you write a letter to #Xijinping and #TabhleegiJamaat how they failed? And write a letter to irresponsible citizens who don't obey. Are you saying @CMOTamilNadu @Vijayabaskarofl is failing? Write letter TN MLAs & MPs. if u have problem address it to the state gov first
Vineeta Makhija @powerofme An open letter from #KamalHaasan to our PM #NarendraModi ji. Don't know why is every1 finding faults. He clearly mentioned diya, torch or even phone light. I stand by Modiji, he is just trying to keep the country united and asking every1 to not lose hope.