Misleading titles about A.R.Rahman asking his wife to talk in Tamil, not Hindi.

AR Rahman teased his wife to speak in Tamil, as she does not know the language. This is spread with misleading titles that imply he insulted Hindi.

In an award function conducted by the Vikatan media group, A.R.Rahman was given the award for being the “Best Playback Singer 2022”. He dedicated the award to his wife, Saira Banu, by saying that she deserves the award as she is his biggest fan. With Saira Banu on stage & the excited anchors eager to ask her probing questions, A.R.Rahman asked his wife to “Don’t talk in Hindi. Please talk in Tamil” in a candid manner to tease his wife, as she is not fluent in Tamil, according to her own admission moments later when she spoke in English.

This candid exchange between the Academy Award winning composer and his wife during an award function is reported by various news outlets with misleading headlines.

NDTV Movies, ANI Digital, Hindustan Times, Hindustan Times Entertainment, Times Now, India Today Showbiz, News 18 and the right-wing propaganda website OpIndia had all misleading titles.

OpIndia had written an article in their website about this incident, in which it also pointed out an incident from 2021, during the Tamil audio launch of “99 Songs”, a musical romance film written and produced by A.R.Rahman. During the launch of the Tamil version of the songs for the movie, the anchor of the event spoke in Hindi when talking about the actor Ehan Bhat and A.R.Rahman walked off the stage (which he later clarified that he was joking). Immediately, he smilingly asked the anchor that he asked her prior to the event that if she would talk in Tamil.

Do Tamils & Tamil Nadu hate Hindi?

Tamil Nadu has the reputation for being anti-Hindi, although the state is opposed only to its imposition. Various forms of Hindi imposition exist to this day which receives pushback from the state, which is perceived as being anti-Hindi or hatred towards Hindi by many. This is a contentious issue that has been around at least since 1937-38 during Tamil Nadu’s (then Madras Presidency) first struggle against Hindi imposition. Though there are merits for opposing the imposition of Hindi, it has always been widely misunderstood and understudied by others. Due to this lack of deliberation, a stereotype has emerged which showcases that Tamils do not like Hindi or they have a deep entrenched hatred for Hindi and sporadic incidents of violence against migrant labours are used to amplify the stereotype.

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Ramasamy Jayaprakash

Ramasamy works as a Senior Sub-Editor at YouTurn and writes articles in Tamil and English. He also makes videos for YouTurn's Tamil & English YouTube channels.
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