"Both these striking personalities succeeded against odds that people from socially disempowered sections of the society face. Both saw poverty and stifling social structures from close quarters and worked to dismantle them, but both are also practical men who believe in action rather than mere thought exercises," music director Ilayaraaja wrote in the foreword for Ambedkar & Modi — Reformer's Ideas, Performer's Implementations, published by Delhi-based Bluecraft Digital Foundation.
The foreword further read, "Pro-women legislation such as the banning of triple talaq and the rise in sex ratio due to the historic 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' movement, which has brought in social transformation, is something that Dr. BR Ambedkar would have been proud of."
These words have created a political uproar not only in Tamil Nadu but across the nation. Social media went crazy with the maestro trending on Twitter. The 78-year-old musician who is often considered the epitome of musical genius in India faces online backlash from fans and opposition. Ilayaraaja's younger brother Gangai Amaran, also a musician and lyricist who joined the BJP in 2017, has said that the composer will not be taking his words back.
Meanwhile, Ilayaraaja's son Yuvan Shankar Raja posted a cryptic tweet that reads, "Dark Dravidian • Proud Tamizhan."
There are reports of the BJP considering the musician's name for the Rajya Sabha seat, which has further fuelled the entire fiasco. The Tamil Nadu BJP came out in support of the musician. While one group claim it as freedom of speech and expression, the opposition questioned the same freedom of speech when AR Rahman took a stand against Amit Shah's Hindi remark.
The music composer, who has more than 7000 songs to his credit, is not new to controversies. He is currently entangled in a legal battle over the copyright issues of his songs. His strained relationship with lyricist Vairamuthu, filmmaker Bharathiraaja, playback singers Malaysia Vasudevan and SP Balasubrahmanyam has been a topic of discussion always.