Illegitimate All These Years

Immense celebration happened on the day the Oscars were announced, for I’m a huge fan of AR Rahman and was overjoyed to see him win. And immense WTFness happens today, for Rahman says:

This award legitimises our music and the aspirations of hundreds of other musicians.

Legitimizes our music? All these years, all 17 of them since Roja, millions of us have loved Rahman’s music—so it wasn’t legitimate all this time? The crores of records sold in India, the four national awards, the 11 Filmfare awards, hell, the love of all his fans—and it takes an Oscar to “legitimize” his music? Et tu, Rahman?

I know many Indians still have this pathetic colonial hangover that leads them to crave validation from the West. I’d assumed that Rahman, just by virtue of being so good, had more self-respect than that. Well, such it goes…

(HT: Mahendra Shikaripur.)

Update: A number of readers have written in to say that maybe Rahman just happened to use the wrong word, that English isn’t his first language, that maybe he simply meant to say that Indian music has now got its overdue recognition from the West. I guess that’s a fair enough explanation of what may have happened.