Actor Vivek has responded to the controversy around poet and lyricist Vairamuthu's comment on Andal, one of the most revered poet-saints from south India.
The comedian has stated Andal is the most respected poets of 'Alwars' (Vaishnavite saint from South India) and one should respect the religious beliefs of others. "We do not require the viewpoint of a foreigner on the issue," he told reporters. He said the issue is sorted now as Vairamuthu had already apologised.
What's the controversy about?
At an event in the Srivilliputhur Andal temple, Vairamuthu had mentioned about a research by Indiana University which stated that Andal belonged to Devadasi community. It sparked a controversy after his speech was published in Tamil daily Dinamani.
The Devadasi system was a practice where young girls used to be married to the deity of the temple before they attain puberty. The girls will spend the rest of their lives in the service of the temple. In many cases, they were sexually exploited and pushed into prostitution.
This is why Vairamuthu's Devadasi reference was met with severe criticism. The Hindu groups and the BJP slammed his comment.
"What Vairamuthu has said is poisonous. It is unfortunate and condemnable that Dinamani has given a platform to a disgraceful person. The quality and respect of Dinamani daily broke down in a moment. Dinamani should apologise to the public," H Raja from Tamil Nadu BJP tweeted.
Following the protests, the article from the online edition of Dinamani was removed and Vairamuthu apologised by stating that he was quoting from a research and they were not his views on Andal.
"The purpose of literature is to soften [make accessible] great personalities. Not to diminish them/their greatness. Everybody knows that the views I've expressed about Andal talk only about her greatness," he was quoted as saying by Scroll.in.
He said he regrets if his comments had hurt anyone's sentiments.
Also, carnatic musician TM Krishna expressed his take on the row. He said it was "deeply disturbing".
In order to protect our false sense of morality, piety and sanctity we repeatedly deride and shame the devadasi. The controversy that erupted over Mr Vairamuthu is deeply disturbing. Those who have taken offence to what he said have shown scant respect to the devadasi community.— T M Krishna (@tmkrishna) January 10, 2018