Simmering storm within me – 7 - It’s our duty to pay tax!

Simmering storm within me – 7 - It’s our duty to pay tax!
பிரீமியம் ஸ்டோரி
Simmering storm within me – 7 - It’s our duty to pay tax!

KamalhaasanPhotos: G.Venkatram

There was IT raid in 187 places in India including Chennai, Tanjai, Mannai and Bangalore. There were different reasons of debates ‘it’s a political vendetta’, ‘it’s an act of vengeance, ‘it’s a usual government process and there’s no link between what’s happening and the central-state governments’ and so on. And he too acknowledged it saying, ‘we’re not the grandchildren of Gandhi’. People also know about it. They can also understand why the raid is on.

Simmering storm within me – 7 - It’s our duty to pay tax!

At this juncture, while the game of tax and litigation is happening, I wish to speak something about taxpaying. Why should I

Simmering storm within me – 7 - It’s our duty to pay tax!

boast about myself ‘I pay my tax properly’? Why do I censure those who don’t? It may not be understood by the ordinary. There are a few politicians who have taken measures to prevent these people not to recoup from Kattabomman’s era. They have made those people think that those who seek tax are wrong and there is no much difference between loan and, usury and taxpaying. I refute that. 

The opposing voice of Kattabomman would have been an expression of his anger about being ruled over by the invaders. I look at it merely as a business brawl among them. There would not have been a chance to supposedly comprehend that ‘This is India, my native’. They considered their limited land area into large presidencies and landlords of small holdings, in those days. That’s why it was told that before independence there were about 56 separate countries. When they fought against the invaders, it is not still clear that they fought for the nation or because of feeling angry about ‘Despite being a king you are asking me to pay tax’. It’s not wrong to depict them as freedom fighters too, while we boast about our nation in our statements.

But they would not have envisioned the country called India. Nevertheless, there were a few who understood it to some extent.  It occurred to me that one among them was Maruthanayagam. Some historians may deny it. Some may get upset that ‘you cannot say only Maruthanayagam could envision it just because you are producing a film about him’. But he was a person who understood about many wars including Panipat war.  Hyder Ali and Maruthanayagam participated in the Panipat war. They were serving in different wars with different warring groups as mercenaries.

It’s our duty to pay tax!

They were able to comprehend a growing nation with a bird’s eye view. However they wouldn’t have imagined it like the current map of India. After Chepoy mutiny, having realized they would not be able to rule the place as separate units the British announced Queen Victoria as the head of the country, only then they were able to comprehend the complete map of India and the business with it.

Considering the welfare of their business and comfort they brought all the units of their rule map under one umbrella. It’s followed by the decision of the British government to print its currency in here. Gandhi became anxious about the decision as he felt it could hamper our independence.  That’s why he decided to bring in FICCI, Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry as an opposing voice to the Chamber of Commerce.  That’s why I’m a member of FICCI now. ‘Nature can serve everyone’s need but not our greed’. This was told by Gandhi while inaugurating FICCI.

There was still a pint of hesitation in paying the tax then. That too was wrong. It was important to pay tax where there were government activities related to roads and schools. Yes, it was wrong not to pay tax during the British regime. Having received road facilities from them but refusing to pay tax and also complaining that ‘it’s not right’ is totally wrong if you ask me. But today as it has become my country and evolved its own government, not paying tax is a crime. It’s not even wrongful but it amounts to betraying our nation.

Simmering storm within me – 7 - It’s our duty to pay tax!

But, the problem is that no one tries to teach us so. Even the politicians tell us not to ‘over emphasize about it’. If it is emphasized people might think they are ‘grabbing away from the people’.  It’s not an act of grabbing away. It’s like a mother giving coins to her kid for petty expenses that we give it to the government departments. It must be given.

Today, there are dialogues about Singapore and London in the film, Mersal. Of the total population of London, about 40% of them compulsorily pay their tax without fail. That too, the tax is higher than what is here. Only when we pay tax properly like them we can expect such facilities here. You cannot pay a paltry amount as tax and demand a huge facility out of it. But that’s what we keep doing here.

If you ask, ‘will anything change just because you pay tax properly as an individual?’ I will say any rebellion or struggle begins only from that single voice. Then it doubles. Then it keeps multiplying. With whose power the chariot moves up? Believer will say ‘from the god inside’. The one who knows physics and what it is will say, ‘it’s in everyone’s hands’. If one thinks that ‘what if I alone don’t pull it over’ then how the chariot will reach a position so that the god of the festival will enter into it? They curse someone who refuses to pull over the chariot saying you are offending the god and therefore you will be ruined. But the same is not happening when someone doesn’t pay tax. Why it’s so? They reply that ‘whatever we pay as tax is stolen by the politicians, then why should we pay tax?’ They will still steal whether you pay the tax or not.  It’s different to be cautious in stopping them from stealing. But, it’s our duty to pay tax.

We give offering as a vow to a temple and engrave our name on it conspicuously. Even though our name is not engraved on our taxpaying, surely it will be engraved on the steps of progress of our nation.  Those who generally oppose paying tax please do let us know a reliable way of running the government without tax. You evaded tax when there was 90% super tax levied on us. You should have at least honestly paid it when it was reduced to 40, 33, and 30%. But if you are evading even when it is being reduced won’t they ask you then with what they would be able to run the nation. Don’t think that I speak so after I have become a politician. I started doing it even before that as I realized it.

I will go to Varanasi and come back if I have to. It’s a nice city. I can visit the city and also the court.

They are my seniors and great actors. I’ll mention the names. In those days, I used to get news about those actors whom I marveled at, hiding their black money inside their bathroom tiles. When I was a kid I used to wonder, ‘why should they hide their money, after it’s their money’. When asked about it they replied that, ‘tax was not paid’. I would ask them further, ‘even if they don’t pay, it’s their money, isn’t?’ They would retort, ‘dude, tax should be paid’, trying to make me understand it. I used to think, they seem to be gentlemen by their look, why don’t they pay their tax. Further I would pity them that if they pay more tax, they will not have enough to live. It took many years for me to change my views about it.

Meanwhile there will be announcement, ‘Let us turn the other side and keep it, if you have anything, on this side. You don’t need to seek pardon, saying, ‘made a mistake, sorry’. We give a period of six months. Do pay the tax’. It will occur to me that with what sort of dismal circumstances the government provides such a concession to them. It could be the government with which we totally differ in principles. But shouldn’t the government continue to function or not? We keep saying that there should be a fair government. For that to happen they need fair money to run the government. Who else would give that fair money to them?

I could hear voices saying that the minority who pays tax faces many obstacles. We need to analyze it extensively to find ways and means so as to remove those obstacles rather than simply refusing to pay tax saying ‘I won’t pay it’. It’s wrong. You can sue the government if they levied tax more than your income. You can go on a strike against it, within the judicial ambits. But, you should not think that you don’t need to pay tax. I don’t speak for this government. If we think that one who gives concession is a good politician, there are no other fools than us. If someone says ‘I will run it without tax’, we should ask ‘with what you are going to run the nation’. If we lack awareness of that sort, they will even sell our country to other countries and run away. That kind of brutal politics is happening here and we should be cautious about it.

There is further information about the cell phone app ‘Maiyam whistle’, what I announced last week. People keep asking, ‘this kind of App will reach only those who are enjoying the upper stratum of the society. Is everyone having cell phone now?’ This App is merely a droplet of my efforts. I can give you only a pinch of the dish for you to taste. I will not give you the whole of my dish even if you ask for it. What will I do if you take away the entire of my dish if I offer you so?

There are many nuances in politics.  For example, we don’t buy the mobile after knowing its mechanism inside. We ask only what it will perform and not about the circuits functioning inside it. Similarly when we catch a train, we ask only about its destination and about the stations it will stop and not try to learn about the functionality of the engines by reading related books. Similarly, we can only elaborate on the benefits that could be accrued by using my App, there is no need to explain the functioning of it. I don’t think so. Besides, we don’t get into politics relying only on this App. There are many other tasks following it.

Besides, we don’t get into politics relying only on this App. There are many other tasks following it.

A speck of fire keeps burning. Don’t think I have receded from what I have told. How could you translate ‘ardent fan of Kamal’ into ‘terror fan’? It’s similar to translating ‘Hindu terror’ as what I have told.  It’s the usage followed by the congress against the ruling party of BJP. I simply mentioned that there is extremism spreading over the country and I didn’t use it the way they translated it in English. But there is no change in what I have said. It’s not a crime to try litigation against it. Immediately they will respond saying, ‘a criminal will say so’. I argue that it’s not a crime. None has time to read once again what I have said. I don’t trust that they will read it hereafter.

But it’s surprising to know a new law being introduced proclaiming that religion and extremism should not be spoken about together. They say religion and extremism are incapable of mixing similar to oil being immiscible with water. But isn’t it greed or religion that is the important cause of troubles in the world? Should it be told to be known only by Kamal Hassan?  Here, no religion has the right to proclaim that ‘religion, riot and violence should not be spoken together’. If someone denies saying ‘it is not so with Jainism’ I can say there is a shamanic rebellion named Kalahachary. I’m not sure it is true or not but I read it in history. There are exaggerated lies mentioned even in history.

What I now want to mention is that Hindu religion is a senior community. We don’t try to compare them with others as high or low. They are more in numbers. Their responsibility is akin to an elder brother. If that is so, when they boast, ‘I’m great, I’m great’ their mind should similarly have greatness. They should be able to embrace others. They should be kind enough to correct other’s mistakes. We have given the right to penalize someone to the court. It’s enough for them to do so. It’s to imply that ‘there is punishment for whoever commits crime’, there is a lady blindfolded with a balance of justice holding in her hand.

Simmering storm within me – 7 - It’s our duty to pay tax!

The angel of justice should not open one of her eyes and look at who the person is and proclaim discriminative judgments. People themselves should say yes or no if they are asked, whether it is happening here. If I say that they will file a suit against me from Andhra or Mumbai. I can also face it as I am the son of a lawyer. I desire to visit many courts as well. Time has changed where one can step into many courts even if one has not studied law. There is nothing to feel ashamed of. They say, ‘they have pulled you to court, it’s a hassle’ to you. I have begun my journey, in search of people. I consider it as a part of it. I will go to Varanasi and come back if I have to. I roamed around the city many days during the filming of Hey Ram. It’s a nice city. I can visit the city and also the court. I need to go and come back if I am called over. My teachers have imparted me the knowledge to go and speak with them in their language. I will speak to the people in that language. It’s because they too are my people.

But earlier I have spoken more vehemently than this in many interviews. Many times I have spoken so in Ananda Vikatan too. But I have attacked only the gods and never attacked religion at any time; because they are created by humans. Some may comment, ‘he says one thing and clarifies about it too’. Yes, if it is not understood I need to clarify it, isn’t it? But I still have undying faith in our law and its justice. There are people still there who exercise fairness. That’s why the wheel is not pulled out and hence keeps rolling on. I believe justice will be ensured. If it is not then we need to argue.

I will also send money to the world hero!

They proclaim that MGR gave a lot to the deprived. There were many poor who sought a philanthropist in those days. Today, if I come forward to donate to ten poor, all round me become philanthropists. Yes, I have made those who came forward to help others into philanthropists. That’s my pride. So far, the members of the welfare association of mine have gathered more than 30 crores doing welfare activities. Those who are in a position, wondering ‘what a wealthy person Kamal is’ have done welfare work worth of 30 crores, in these 37 years since the inception of the welfare association. But it is quite true that I couldn’t give that much amount as an individual. 

Simmering storm within me – 7 - It’s our duty to pay tax!

However, you cannot value the worth of lakhs of liters of blood they have donated so far. Further, there’s no price for organ donations. In which budget you will include eye donations. It can’t be valued by money. But it can be valued in the minds. But we cannot run a party with that value as it requires more than that. People will give it. The fans may become preachers, carrying the message to the people. But we cannot be sure all of them will have the talent to do so. It’s because some may be efficient in field work but not able to speak up. When the DMK cadres spoke wonderfully Kamarajar could not do that.  That’s why he had names like Karma veerar, Seyal veerar meaning ‘man of action’.

There are many in my group like him. They know only to work, not even knowing how to speak about it. Having advised them not to trumpet about what they have done to people but to remain gentle, now bounces back to me asking ‘what he has done for the people’. We feel ashamed to list out what we have done. We are used to it. We don’t want to enlist our good work just because we need to show them our account.
At this juncture, what I said as ‘people will give me the money to run the party’, the media distorted the news as if I mentioned that ‘my fans will give me’.

They make me delay in clarifying about it. However, I wish to clarify about it so that the members of my association and the people should not be confused. I have already started getting letters and donations. But if I get it now it becomes illegal. I should not receive it and keep it idle too. Therefore I am sending it back, individually to each contributor. That doesn’t mean that I will not get it from them. And also don’t think that I’m stepping back. I should not touch that money without a proper structure. Keep that money as if it’s mine. If it’s spent before that I treat it that I’m not worth to have it.

Simmering storm within me – 7 - It’s our duty to pay tax!

The party has begun the day you sent the money. We need to name it. Register it. That’s all. But the structures, preparations and the floor should be properly built. It’s because the movement should continue properly even after me. If I don’t do those preparations well the same crisis that some of the current parties undergo will happen to our movement as well. The same disaster that happened to those parties whose leaders failed to think about will happen to our movement as well. That should not happen here. Yes, I am beginning a new party but speaking about leaving my position in the party at the same time. It’s because this is not regarding my position in the party or moving towards it. It’s my desire that Tamil Nadu should come up as a good state and grow well.
 - Towards your shore!