AR Rahman's mother, Kareema Begum, passes away in Chennai
Music maestro AR Rahman's mother Kareema Begum passed away on Monday in Chennai. As per initial reports, she was suffering from age-related ailments. Rahman shared a picture of his mother on his Twitter page to confirm the news.
The Oscar- and Grammy-award winning composer was close to his mother and had revealed in earlier interviews that his mother was the behind him taking up music. She was the one who identified the flair in him and encouraged him to become a music composer.
As per reports, in an earlier interview, Rahman had said it was Begum who pursued him to leave school in class 12 to pursue music as a career. “It was her conviction that music is the line for me,” he said.
Rahman was born to music composer RO Shekhar who died when the former was only nine years old. It was his mother (then called Kasthuri Sekhar) who raised Rahman as a single mother. Rahman was called Dileep, and only after he and his mother embraced Sufi Islam in 1987, they changed their names.
In the book 'AR Rahman The Spirit of Music' by author Nasreen Munni Kabir, Rahman reveals 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."
He further adds, "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."