There is never a dull moment in Tamil Nadu’s political scene, particularly when the state gears up for an Assembly election. But when a celebrated actor like Kamal Haasan tickles the funny bone, the entire realm turns a theatre of the absurd. When the general council of Haasan’s party, named differently as the Makkal Needhi Maiam (People’s Justice Centre), made him the “permanent president” by passing a resolution, his detractors, who never miss an opportunity to pick holes in whatever he does or says, raised serious questions, quite out of sync with the prevailing mirth.
What’s that general council? How were those members elected? By whom? So wondered the dirty disparagers without realising that it’s an internal matter of the party that others should not poke their noses into. They also asked if someone could remain permanently on a high pedestal in a domain where there are no permanent friends or enemies. But Haasan, who hails from a world of make-belief, perhaps believes in the juxtaposition of surrealism with harsh political realities, hoping that it would provide relief from the ennui caused by the ubiquitous harangue and pageantry.
Whatever it was, he made the people laugh though they had heard of even “permanent chief ministers”, as hailed in the rhetoric of fawning sycophants, in the past. Displaying a similar sentiment, those who inherited the mantle of running the government from the late J. Jayalalithaa accorded her the exalted status of “permanent general secretary” of the AIADMK posthumously and kept the post vacant “permanently” after throwing out V.K. Sasikala, who had succeeded her. Perhaps it was the spectacular return of Sasikala to reclaim the post that inspired Haasan to look for permanency in the party president’s job. Anyway, the same general council’s resolution to make Haasan the chief minister of the state did not evoke any laughter.