Renowned actor Kamal Haasan has said that the rise of Hitler in Germany and imposition of emergency in India came through normal democratic process urging people to keep “constant vigil”to safeguard freedom of speech in a democracy.
Speaking at Harvard University in the US, the actor said, “Democracy is often touted as the only bastion of freedom of speech. It is a work in progress. Constant vigil is necessary to safeguard it.”
“It is only through the offices of democracy that Adolf Hitler rose to the power. In the Indian political history, emergency was promulgated and voices were silenced,” he was quoted by PTI.
The “Vishwaroopam” star is a part of the reform committee that is going to recommend changes in the functioning of Central Board of Film Certification in India.
He said that that freedom of speech should not be taken for granted.
He said, “I have taken the opportunity to put on record here and in India we can’t take freedom of speech for granted and complacently think that democracy automatically means freedom of speech.”
“Not only India, but the world is in transition. The world is going to face new challenges, find new opportunities.
We want India not to be complacent, but set world standards,” he added.
He also said that the religion in politics was not healthy.
“What Nehruji spoke of once of unity in diversity, now we are trying to lose it very fast. In a world of open source, protectionism cannot work like medieval times.
“Those evangelising democracy nowadays want us to believe that it is the only hope for freedom of speech. I, as an artist, believe that freedom of speech is separate from the ruling political state.