The latest victim of the ever-expanding fake news ecosystem is now A.R. Rahman. On 8 June, a photo was shared on the Facebook page of the fake news website Post Card news carrying an apparent quote of Rahman on the currently contentious issue of cattle slaughter.
This is what the quote says:
I don’t eat beef. My mother was a practising Hindu. She had always been spiritually inclined. Growing up, I used to watch my mother as she worshipped cows during the religious festivals. I chose the path of Sufism, but I still consider cow to be a sacred symbol of life. Killing cow hurts the sentiment of billions of Hindus, so we need to stop that. I welcome the initatives taken by the central government to curb cattle slaughter.
As reported by fake news debunking site SM Hoaxslayer, a part of this quote was taken from Rahman’s interview excerpted from the book A.R. Rahman – The Spirit of Music, published on Scroll. The only part which was taken was the one where Rahman talks about his mother being a “practising Hindu” and “spiritually inclined”. The rest were just figments of imagination conveniently affixed to justify the restrictions on cattle slaughter.
The same quote was also shared as an image by a portal called The Verve (not to be confused with the legit lifestyle magazine), which comes with the tagline ‘World’s No 1 Bulletin’.
On Twitter, Swaminathan Gurumurthy, a practicing journalist and editor of the Tamil magazine Thughlak shared the two images of the false quote – one of which has been retweeted around 2,700 times.
Describing himself as a “Chartered Accountant (CA) by profession” and “a writer on political, economic issues”, Gurumurthy commands a following of 126,000 on Twitter, which includes prominent journalists and political leaders.
His tweet on the Rahman quote was retweeted by Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman. However, she later deleted it, admitting that the quote “seems unverified information”.