Suriya backs Jyothika on ‘schools, hospitals as important as temples’ statement

An old video of Jyothika landed in controversy, triggering a communal narrative

Jyothika suriya Suriya with Jyothika | Official Facebook handle

“We would like to teach our children that humanity is more important than religion. Good intentions will lead to good deeds,” Tamil actor Suriya said on Tuesday. Suriya on Tuesday took to Twitter to release a statement, titled “Lets sow love”, to stand by his wife Jyothika.

Days after an old video of Jyothika, also a popular actor, went viral and landed in controversy, Suriya took to Twitter to express his views in support of his wife. In a well-articulated and a strongly worded statement, Suriya responded to the communal narrative that was being built over an old statement made by Jyothika while she was addressing the audience during an event.

“My family fully stands with her opinion in the speech, which is inspired by the teachings of spiritual leaders. We wish to teach our children that humanity is more important than religion,” Suriya said.

The statement that begins with an adage in Tamil—“even if the tree stands silent, the wind will not allow it to”—strongly calls out those who created controversy over Jyothika’s statement. “A comment made by my wife Jyothika at an award function long ago has been doing the rounds and has led to debates as well. Jyothika had said that as temples are held in high regard, schools and hospitals should be maintained in the same regard. Some people seem to have been offended by this and have equated it to a crime.”

Adding that such thoughts have always been espoused by spiritual leaders like Vivekananda, Suriya said, “Serving people is like serving god. This is a belief that has been held in our society for a long time, even by people like Thirumoolar. But those who don’t follow these writings or learning won’t even try to understand this.”

Pointing out that people of all religions have welcomed the idea that schools and hospitals should be treated equal to temples, Suriya thanked the people who stood by Jyothika even during the tough times of the COVID-19 pandemic. He thanked everyone who supported them. “I thank all those unknown people who supported us, even when many were working extra hours to malign our image and assassinate our characters online,” Suriya said.

Jyothika’s old video—in which she said schools and hospitals should be treated akin to temples—went viral on social media, thus leading to debates and discussions around it, at a time when there were proposals to release her movie, Pon Magal Vandhal, on Amazon Prime. The theatre and multiplex owners association in Tamil Nadu had opposed the idea of releasing the movie on the OTT platform.