Music legend Ilaiyaraaja nominated to Rajya Sabha: A profile of the maestro

Updated on Jul 07, 2022 01:12 PM IST
During his career, Ilaiyaraaja had to face innumerable hardships and caste-based discrimination but he overcame all such hurdles and emerged as one of the country’s leading musicians
He isregarded as one of India’s greatest music composers. (File image)
He isregarded as one of India’s greatest music composers. (File image)

Music maestro Ilaiyaraaja was among the four nominated to the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Generations have listened to 79-year-old Ilaiyaraaja’s music and singing in several languages but most predominantly in Tamil cinema and regarded as one of India’s greatest music composers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted a photo of Ilaiyaraaja captioning about his creative genius has enthralled people across generations.

“His works beautifully reflect many emotions. What is equally inspiring is his life journey- he rose from a humble background and achieved so much,” PM Modi tweeted.

Also Read: PT Usha, Ilaiyaraaja among four nominated to Rajya Sabha

The PM also posted the same in Tamil.

Ilaiyaraaja was born in a Dalit household in a village in Tamil Nadu’s Madurai district of Tamil Nadu, according to a note released on the nominees.

Actor Rajinikanth whose several films’ chartbuster music was composed by Ilaiyaraaja, congratulated his “dear friend”.

NDA ally Pattali Makkal Katchi’s president and former union health minister Anbumani Ramadoss said that Ilaiyaraaja healed people’s wounds with his music. “This is the right recognition for him.”

BJP chief K Annamalai took to Twitter to express that “Tamil Nadu’s outstanding son” deserves this honour. “His rich experience of life will also help our policy makers!”

DMK ally Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (formerly known as the Dalit Panthers of India) chief Thol Thirumavalavan tweeted that Ilaiyaraaja is proficient to aso serve as the union minister for art and culture. “He fully deserves to receive the Bharat Ratna,” Thirumavalan said.

Ilaiyaraaja’s brother Gangai Amaran, also a music composer, has been a BJP member from 2014 and contested in the R K Nagar bypoll in Chennai in 2017 which fell vacant after AIADMK’s chief minister J Jayalalithaa died in office.

Ilaiyaraaja was recently embroiled in a controversy for his foreword drawing parallels between Ambedkar and Modi when the book ‘Ambedkar & Modi: Reformer’s Ideas, Performer’s Implementation’, published by Bluekraft Digital Foundation, was launched on April 14.

BJP president JP Nadda came to his defence saying that “elements aligned to the ruling party” in Tamil Nadu are “verbally lynching, smearing and humiliating” one of India’s tallest musical maestros just because he has views not palatable to one political party and their allies.

“During his career, Ilaiyaraaja had to face innumerable hardships and caste-based discrimination. However, he overcame all such hurdles and emerged as one of the country’s leading musicians,” the statement on the nominees read.

“His life is a living manifestation of how creative geniuses can rise overcoming all hardships.” In a career spanning more than five decades, he has composed over 7000 songs for more than 1000 movies and performed in more than 20000 concerts across the globe. In 2018, he received the Padma Vibhushan. He has also been awarded the Padma Bhushan. He has received numerous laurels in his career, including five national film awards and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.

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