Actor-turned-politician Kamal Hassan threw open a can of worms when he backed “payments” for homemakers in his party manifesto. Last month, Kamal Hassan released his political party MNM’s seven-point Governance and Economic Agenda wherein it promised that if it was elected to power, it would recognise the due credit of homemakers by paying them salaries for their work at home and thereby help in raising the dignity of the womenfolk.
However, the promise to provide a “payment” for the homemakers elicited sharp reactions from both—the opponents as well as proponents of the idea. Several prominent personalities, including Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, welcomed the move, while on the other hand, notable celebrities such as actor Kangana Ranaut opposed the idea, stating that if implemented such a proposition would reduce a homeowner to home employee and put a price tag on their love and sacrifices.
Kamal Hassan’s wife Vani Ganapathy reveals about her bitter divorce with the actor
Nonetheless, as the debate on whether the payment to homemakers serves to empower them or degrade them continues to rage on, it is important to revisit what the former wife of Kamal Haasan had to say about the actor who now claims the moral high ground of emancipating women by providing homemakers with “payments”. In an interview with Deccan Chronicle in July 2015, Vani Ganapathy, the former wife of Kamal Haasan, broke her silence for the first time about her traumatic and bitter divorce with the actor.
For 28 years since the divorce, Ganapathy had refrained from publicly speaking on her divorce with Kamal Haasan. However, the latter’s remark that his divorce with Ganapathy had led him on the brink of bankruptcy is what triggered Ganapathy into sharing her side of the story.
“I decided it was time to go public with my statement because if Kamal claims that I drove him to bankruptcy, people might even think that all the success and possessions I currently have came from him. My silence should not be mistaken for acceptance,” she said.
Kamal refused to give used appliances: Ganapathy
Speaking about her divorce with Kamal Haasan, Ganapathy admitted that there was alimony but she refused to reveal the petty details of the private matter. To stress the fact on how inconsequential the alimony was, Ganapathy had revealed that Kamal was so inconsiderate of her that he had even refused to give her used appliances from the flat the duo shared.
“The alimony is a private matter, nobody outside the two of us needs to know about the ugly details! There was alimony, yes, but it was too petty to discuss, really. He even refused to give me used appliances from the flat we shared. What could I expect from a man like that?” Ganapathy said.
While Kamal now claims to “recognise” the due credit of homemakers in his election manifesto, in his former life, as per his ex-wife’s account, he was not so considerate and caring of the womenfolk as he would have us believe. Contrarily, Haasan vilified his former wife publicly, taking a swipe at her for the supposedly big, fat alimony that she had gotten from him following the divorce between them. Additionally, it also reveals that Kamal Haasan’s sudden focus on women empowerment is nothing but a poll ploy to woo women voters in the upcoming assembly elections by offering them freebies and doles.
Haasan accused of mansplaining a female Twitter user
It is also notable to mention that Kamal Haasan was recently called out by netizens for mansplaining a female Twitter user who had posted a video of operating a nunchaku like a trained martial artist for self-defence. The video by a woman operating a nunchaku did not sit well with Kamal Haasan who took to Twitter to give unsolicited advice to her.
Haasan replied, “Dignity and equipoise are important to your protection and empowerment. With the above qualities, your self-defence can become non-violent. When non-violence meets violence, there is no combat; clearly, the criminal is exposed. Your confidence can do more damage than pepper spray.”
The actor implied that a woman must ‘display confidence’ and resort to ‘non-violence’ even in the face of violence and aggression. He suggested that doing so will somehow miraculously thwart violence of an aggressor and thereby can supposedly inflict more damage than pepper spray, a common self-defence item women use this against violence against them.
Haasan’s patronising response to tweet invited the wrath of social media users, many of whom accused the actor-turned-politician of indulging in mansplaining and rebuffed him for passing off a woman’s confidence as sufficient for averting an attack on her dignity.