Music maestro AR Rahman’s mother Kareema Begum passed away in Chennai. According to reports, she was suffering from age related ailments and had passed away at her home in the city on Monday.
Rahman personally confirmed the death on Twitter with a picture of his mother. The Oscar and Grammy award winning music composer was extremely close to his mother and in many previous interviews, he has disclosed that it was his mother who had realised his flair in music and had nurtured it.
Describing his mother as a spiritual person, Rahman said that she was way above him in the way her mind worked and how she took decisions. It was his mother who had made him leave school in class 12 and pursue a career in music. “It was conviction that music is the line for me,” he said.
“My father was an arranger for composers. Those days composers were Carnatic musicians, who would write the tunes and my father would arrange the music and so, he would be working with eight composers at the same time, working night and day,” he said in an interview.
For five years after his father’s death, his mother used to rent out his father’s musical equipment to make a living. But when she was asked to sell the equipment to make money, she refused to do so stating that her son would take care of the musical equipment.
Rahman in the book ‘AR Rahman The Spirit of Music’ by author Nasreen Munni Kabir had also revealed how a seer his mother looked after led him to embrace Sufi Islam.
“My mother was a practising Hindu. My mother had always been spiritually inclined. We had Hindu religious images on the walls of the Habibullah Road house where we grew up. There was also an image of Mother Mary holding Jesus in Her arms and a photograph of the sacred sites of Mecca and Medina. In 1986, ten year after my father died, we happened to meet Qadri Saaheb again. The seer was unwell and my mother looked after him. He regarded her as a daughter. There was a strong connection between us. I was nineteen at the time and working on a session musician and composing jingles.”
When asked if Qadri Saaheb asked him to embrace Islam, Rahman said, “No, he didn’t. Nobody is forced to convert to the path of Sufism. You only follow if it comes from your heart.
A year after we met Qadri Saaheb, in 1987, we moved from Habibullah Road to Kodambakkam, to the house where we still live. When we moved, I was reminded of what Jesus Christ, Peace be upon Him, once said: “I wish that you were cold and hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.” What I understood by his words was that it is better to choose one path. The Sufi path spiritually lifted both my mother and me, and we felt it was the best path for us, so we embraced Sufi Islam.”