INTERVIEW| I am a proud atheist; Udhaynidhi & I free to follow atheism: Kanimozhi

Kanimozhi, an MP from Thoothukkudi, is known for her atheistic views, which she openly discusses. Her comments on Santana Dharma and her nephew’s controversial remarks have sparked discussions among the electorate.

| Updated: 19 April, 2024 12:25 pm IST

Thoothukudi: As the sun sets over the palm-fringed coastline, the New Indian team heads to the Toothukudi constituency to capture the essence of the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections 2024.

Kanimozhi, an MP from Thoothukkudi, is known for her atheistic views, which she openly discusses. Her comments on Santana Dharma and her nephew’s controversial remarks have sparked discussions among the electorate. Her political career, while notable for its longevity, has not been without controversy.

Kanimozhi, an MP from Thoothukkudi, is known for her atheistic views, which she openly discusses. Her comments on Santana Dharma and her nephew’s controversial remarks have sparked discussions among the electorate.

Excerpt..

Rohan Dua: Your minister and district secretary are also sitting here, canvassing strongly in your favor. But if I were to ask you if Congress were to form a government, would you want to be a cabinet minister?

Kanimohzi: That decision lies with Congress and my party leader, not me.

Rohan Dua: Like I asked you previously as well, what makes a leader a tough leader at times? Since you talked about the 2011 days that made you a tough leader, still I would ask you this question as a general woman leader of DMK, who always saw the male giants, your father, your brothers, his son, Uday Nidhi, making towering impressions. Where do you find your place?

Kanimohzi: I don’t understand why people have to keep asking about women leaders facing gender bias. Because if you call me a leader, I am a leader in my own right. And I don’t think you should label any male leader as a “male face”. No, why am I asked this? I am here on my merit. I’ve worked for it. I am no less than anybody.

Rohan Dua: Does that mean you’re in contention to someday become Tamil Nadu’s chief minister as well?

Kanimohzi: See, being a chief minister isn’t the be-all and end-all.

Rohan Dua: In Tamil Nadu, within DMK, many see that since the other daughter of Mr. Karunanidhi is not into politics, you are the only one who took that path.

Kanimohzi: Why bring my sister and me into this? It’s unnecessary. You have this attitude of comparing women, trying to put us into a frame and label us as women leaders. I refuse to engage in that.

Rohan Dua: Well, because I am following your career in the national capital, often in the parliament, outside the parliament, you seem to be one of the strongest advocates for the Tamil language. You have always fiercely fought against the imposition of Hindi, advocating for the promotion of Tamil.

Kanimohzi: No, I don’t think Hindi should not be promoted. Hindi should not be imposed on me. I just don’t like what I see.

Rohan Dua: You were always the daughter of a literary giant. Karunanidhi also contributed to films and literature. So did you at a very young age. You followed your father’s footsteps, absorbing his career and taking pride in bearing his legacy as well.

Kanimohzi: I never bore his legacy on my shoulders. What I wrote was what I believed in. And I never wrote for films. I never followed his footsteps. I wrote poetry and worked as a journalist to connect with people. He started his magazine, but I have no TV channel or contribution to one.

Rohan Dua : Kalai Nagar TV?

Kanimohzi: I’m not even a shareholder. That was a perception many had when we started.

Rohan Dua: Now, of course, many in the national capital, even in the BJP, feel that remarks are coming from DMK leaders against Sanatan Dharma. I see you wearing a bindi, which is a convention of the Hindu religion. But do you take pride in being an atheist?

Kanimohzi: Hinduism isn’t the only religion in the world. There are many religions, and wearing a bindi isn’t exclusively Hindu. I don’t think any DMK leader has spoken against Hinduism.

Rohan Dua: Ma’am, you talked about atheism being personally close to you. Since I asked you about Mr. Uday Nidhi Stalin’s remarks on Sanatan Dharma, what does atheism mean to you?

Kanimohzi: Why can’t I be proud of being an atheist? Atheism means not believing in any religion or god. But just because my mother and Uday Nidhi’s mother follow Hinduism, it doesn’t mean I have to. I will fight for their right to follow their beliefs, but I have my own beliefs.

Rohan Dua: I would also then ask you, why would Mr. Stalin or his son make remarks on my religion?

Kanimohzi: He didn’t make any remarks about your religion. He was talking about certain philosophies that perpetuate caste systems and gender bias ingrained in our society.

Rohan Dua: You don’t eat beef, as far as I know.

Kanimohzi: What I eat or not is irrelevant. I can eat what I want. And why do you want me to say whether I eat beef or not?

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