Ilaiyaraaja labelled as Dalit in govt notification; fans upset

The term “Dalit” used to mention the maestro and a Padma Vibhushan awardee, who has been making people happy through his work for the past forty years, didn’t go well with the online users.
Ilaiyaraaja (right) and the govt notification
Ilaiyaraaja (right) and the govt notification

CHENNAI: Fans of music maestro Ilaiyaraaja got upset after seeing the notice of central government in which the Tamil musician was mentioned as “Dalit”.

On Wednesday, the government nominated the celebrated athlete PT Usha, iconic music composer Ilaiyaraaja, Philanthropist Veerendra Heggade and screenwriter-director V Vijayendra Prasad to the Rajya Sabha. It is notable that all the four personalities are from southern states.

“Rajya Sabha nominations show yet another instance of Modi Government recognising outstanding Indians who have made a mark in diverse fields. The four nominated members have had illustrious careers in their respective fields and received national and global recognition for their contributions,” stated the notice of the government.

Ilaiyaraaja (right) and the govt notification
RS nominations: CM Stalin greets Ilaiyaraja, Usha

“The four nominated representatives represent various South Indian states and expand the region’s representation in the Rajya Sabha. Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas: The Modi government has consistently ensured adequate representation for various under-represented groups. The four nominated members include a woman, a Dalit, and a member of a religious minority (Jain community),” the note stated further.

“These four nominees have given back to society at every possible instance- if one of them has groomed athletes, the other has mentored creative geniuses and another of them has nurtured cinematic talent and one of them has done community service. The list includes two Padma Vibhushan recipients and a Padma Shri recipient” the notice added.

The term “Dalit” used to mention the maestro and a Padma Vibhushan awardee, who has been making people happy through his work for the past forty years, didn’t go well with the online users.

“One of the greatest musicians, Maestro Ilaiyaraaja, whose music has no boundaries across the globe, just being reduced as a Dalit, is so deplorable,” an online user wrote whereas another one said “Dear Modi/BJP/RSS, as you all look at Ilaiyaraaja as only a “Dalit” we all see him as a Maestro. In your self-congratulating letter for selecting him to Rajya Sabha, you have put him in just a Dalit box instead of talking about his musical genius.”

An Instagram user, who identifies himself as a part ‘anti cancel culture’, wrote a post.

An excerpt from his post says, “Ilaiyaraaja never piggybacked on Dalit movement and rose to fame. Ilaiyaraaja was always someone who worked with people across political spectrum. The Ilaiyaraaja who composed Potri Paadadi Pennae, gave us Poraadada. He didn't have a side to begin with. Just because he was a Dalit, we kept giving him a side, which again he didn't want to be a part of. Ilaiyaraaja didn't want to be labelled and marked in any essentialist identity-based boxes. He followed Ramana maharishi, but he always emphasized that Music was his religion.”

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