Legendary musician Isaignani Ilaiyaraaja has been nominated to the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of the Parliament, through the presidential quota of inviting diversified minds to the house to achieve holistic development across the nation. Ilaiyaraaja's nomination was a bolt from the blue for a sea of people as there haven't been major speculations that the musical icon would get a seat on a towering floor.
The nomination of Ilaiyaraaja to the Rajya Sabha has become a talk of the nation and spurred a debate on whether the nomination has come as a compliment from Prime Minister Narendra Modi months after the musician drew a line of analogy praising Modi and comparing the latter with Ambedkar while he penned a preview for a book. Though the musician had faced outrage across the state, he has gained strong support and backing from the national BJP leaders including BJP President JP Nadda.
The announcement of Ilaiyaraaja's nomination was made on Wednesday - July 6 and it was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Prime Minister took to Twitter and wrote, "The creative genius of Ilaiyaraaja Ji 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. Glad that he has been nominated to the Rajya Sabha."
With the nomination, Illaiyaraaja has become the first musician from Tamil Nadu to get nominated to the Rajya Sabha. He will be a Rajya Sabha MP for six years. While the Lok Sabha MPs are getting elected directly by the voters, Rajya Sabha MPs will be elected indirectly and as a constitutional right, the President of India can nominate twelve MPs under his quota and these members would be finalized based on their remarkable achievements in the fields of arts, literature, science, and sports.
The President will select the nominees based on the advice of the Prime Minister and this time, four presidential nominees have been announced and all four are from south India. Besides Ilaiyaraaja, the other three include veteran athlete PT Usha from Kerala, Telugu screenwriter Vijayendra Prasad (father of director SS Rajamouli), and Dharmasthala president Veerendra Heggade have been nominated. It is pertinent to note that it was through this window of presidential nomination that iconic cricketer Sachin Tendulkar became a Rajya Sabha MP.
Since the announcement was made, Illaiyaraaja has been flooded with wishes and greetings from fans, fraternities, and political leaders. In his first message after getting nominated to the Rajya Sabha, Illaiyaraaja thanked Prime Minister Modi for supporting his nomination. Taking to Twitter, Illaiyaraaja wrote, "I express my sincere gratitude for the thoughts Narendra Modi Ji. It is an honour and opportunity to make the beauty of music, art and culture reach the length and breadth of our society."
"Am sure this gesture of the Government of India will inspire more younger minds to pursue music and art as a passion and profession thereby rejuvenating the rich heritage and culture that India is always known for", the musician added. In another tweet, he said, "My several dear ones have been extending their greetings for the honour that the Indian government has bestowed on me. As I can't able to thank each one of you, my heartfelt gratitude to everyone." The musician further noted that he is currently in Seattle in the United States.
Over the decades of his enthralling music, Illaiyaraaja has been endeared by millions across and beyond the borders. He has composed more than 7,000 songs in over 1,400 movies, predominantly in Tamil. He has also worked in Malayalam, Telugu, and Hindi cinema. Being popular for trailblazing western musical elements in South Indian cinema, Illaiyaraaja has a huge fan following across the ages and he has received the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan.
While his fans welcome his nomination, there were several remarks on social media that the BJP is trying to woo the voters in Tamil Nadu by bringing their favourite icon to the capital. It has also been said that the BJP has been giving a huge backing to the musician after Illaiyaraaja's analogy of Modi and earlier this April, Tamil Nadu BJP President Annamalai said that they are expecting that Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour, will be awarded to Illaiyaraaja. It must be noted that Ilaiyaraaja's younger brother Gangai Amaran is a BJP leader in Tamil Nadu.
Am sure, this gesture of Government of India will inspire more younger minds to pursue music and art as a passion and profession thereby rejuvenating the rich heritage and culture that India is always known for.— Ilaiyaraaja (@ilaiyaraaja) July 6, 2022
என்மீது அன்பு கொண்ட ஏராளமான அபிமானிகள் இந்திய அரசு எனக்களித்த கௌரவமான அங்கீகாரத்திற்காகப் பாராட்டி வாழ்த்துக்கள் தெரிவித்திருந்த வண்ணமிருக்கின்றனர் .— Ilaiyaraaja (@ilaiyaraaja) July 6, 2022
உங்கள் அனைவருக்கும் தனித்தனியாக நன்றி சொல்ல இயலாதாகையால் எல்லோருக்கும்
என் உளங்கனிந்த நன்றி... from Seattle, USA