Modi said of the singer in a tweet, “The genius of @ilaiyaraaja Ji has wowed people through generations. His works beautifully reflect many emotions. What a similar inspiration is his life journey – he grew up from a humble background and achieved so much. Glad he was nominated for the Rajya Sabha.”
However, what made recognition seem like an inevitable outcome in Tamil Nadu political circles was the controversy that erupted in April, when, in an article published as a preface to a book titled “Ambedkar and Modi – Ideas of Reform, Applications of the Performer”, Iliaraja compared Prime Minister to the chief architect of the constitution .
genius Tweet embed Ji has captivated people through generations. His works beautifully reflect many emotions. What a similar inspiration is his life journey – he grew up from a humble background and achieved so much. Glad he was nominated for Rajya Sabha. pic.twitter.com/VH6wedLByC
– Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) 6 July 2022
These two remarkable personalities have succeeded in countering the hardships faced by people from the socially vulnerable groups in society. Both saw poverty and stifling social structures from close quarters and worked to dismantle them, but both were also practical men who believed in action and not merely intellectual exercises,” the great musician wrote.
While these words of praise for Modi sounded to many critics as a harbinger of some great recognition from Delhi on the path to great music, they wouldn’t argue that Ilayaraja deserved the Rajya Sabha nomination.
Ilayaraja, affectionately nicknamed “Raaja sir” in his inner circle, was exposed to music when he was a young boy. He was born in Banipuram village, near Madurai, in 1943.
Thanks to his brother Pavalar Varadarajan, a member of the Communist Party of India, Ilayaraja started out as a fellow communist traveler at a time when the entire country was subject to Dravidian movements. Ilayaraja traveled across the state and even to places like Munnar in the neighboring state of Kerala as a member of the music group “Pavalar Brothers” to support the communist candidates in the elections.
His life changed after he moved to Madras in the mid-1960s, when he began studying music. He later received a gold medal in classical guitar from Trinity College of Music in London. In his distinguished career, he has been credited with creating around 7,000 songs in many Indian languages as a composer, singer, lyricist and instrumentalist. He is also the first symphony writer in Asia. In 1988, Prime Minister M Karunanidhi officially awarded him the nickname ‘Ezinyani’.
Ilayaraja was reportedly open to the idea of a Rajya Sabha seat, a source close to him told The Indian Express in April. The source cited AR Rahman’s Grammy and Oscar wins as examples of peers at work who have received similar honors. And Ilyaraja was not unfamiliar with the BJP; His brother, singer Janjay Amaran, joined the National Party in 2014 and remains an active member of it.