Academy-award winning composer A R Rahman on Saturday said he did not know the murdered journalist Gauri Lankesh or her work, but was taken aback by the “cruelty” of her murder. Rahman also said he had no idea that his reported statement on Friday — that “if these things happen in India, then it is not my India” — would create a storm on social media.
“I didn’t know her. I saw the news in the middle of a recording and my musician heart was just shocked. We come from the nation of Gandhi. I was taken aback to see the cruelty, that something like that could take place in my country,” Rahman said on Saturday.
“India”, he said, “is a perfect example to the world, it’s a miracle how the country has faith. I think we should complement each other and find the next level of that faith rather than destroying it. Some of us are destroying it.”
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Gauri Lankesh was shot dead by unidentified men at the door of her residence in Bengaluru on Tuesday. Rahman’s earlier statement was criticised as being representative of his “left leanings” and for being allegedly against the NDA government.
On Saturday, the composer said, “I think a lot of good things are happening in the government at this point and I am very proud of them. It’s also important to deal with the issues and not become like another country. We are so complex. We are from different cultures. There is something in this Indianness that holds us together.”
Asked if artists should engage with politics, Rahman said, “We all should just shut up and keep quiet. We, the rich people, don’t get affected. The powerful in our country don’t get affected. But the poor, the innocent, get bashed up. They have equal rights. Lack of privilege doesn’t make them inferior, and we need to care for them. Artists should attain peace through their art forms.”