Sonu Nigam azaan row: Parineeti Chopra to Mika Singh to Sunil Grover, who said what
Azaan controversy: Sonu Nigam shaves head after cleric offers Rs 10 lakh reward.
Mumbai, April 19 (IANS): Renowned singer Sonu Nigam on Wednesday shaved off his head, hours after offering to apologize if his tweets on azaan blared from loudspeakers were seen to be anti-Muslim.
After the tweets sparked a row, a cleric in West Bengal, Syed Shah Atif Ali Al-Qaderi, announced he would give Rs 10 lakh to anyone who shaves off Sonu Nigam’s head and garlands with footwear.
Sonu Nigam took up the challenge, calling a Muslim barber to do the job.
"I have requested Aalim (Hakim) to come. He will shave my head, but it isn’t any agitation or challenge. The one who is cutting hair is a Muslim and I am a Hindu. There is no animosity," Nigam said here.
"The same language of fatwa can be communicated through a language of love," he added.
Nigam underlined that he never meant any offence.
"Being secular means understanding each other’s problems and not saying ’I am only right’. ’Aazan zaruri hai, loudspeaker nahi’ (Aazan is necessary, not the loudspeakers).
"That’s my only point. It is about the timing. Loudspeaker shouldn’t be used at a wrong time. Even when we perform, there is a proper time," added the singer.
Nigam invited the media, saying he will go bald at 2 p.m. "Keep your Rs 10 lakh ready Moulvi," he tweeted.
Nigam kept his word and then addressed a media conference at his residence as police beefed up security for him.
The cleric, however, refused to pay up, saying only one part of his challenge had been taken up.
The singer appeared before journalists with a clean-shaven pate, wearing spectacles and smiling away even as Muslim groups protested and threatened to move the court against him.
"All I wanted was consideration for one another... Everyone has the right to have an opinion. My opinion is in temple, masjid and gurudwara, loudspeakers are not religious necessities. It is not part of a religion.
"When loudspeakers are installed in religious places, it is sort of a declaration that ’this is my religion’. The same goes for people dancing on roads drunk during religious processions. I am against that.
"I am very secular. I am not right or left wing. I stand in between. I’ve never had to make a speech like this. I just raised a social topic, not a religious topic," Nigam added.
It all started on Monday when Nigam lashed out at "forced religiousness" in India after being woken up by azaan from a mosque near his home. He later clarified that he was not against any one religion.
Sonu Nigam azaan row: Parineeti Chopra to Mika Singh to Sunil Grover, who said what
Sonu Nigam woke up to controversy on Monday when he called morning azaan blaring over loudspeakers religious ‘gundagardi’. It did not take time for the nation to slam the ace singer for his words. Sonu, over a series of tweets, expressed outrage on how following a religion in India is not by choice but by force. "God bless everyone. I’m not a Muslim and I have to be woken up by the Azaan in the morning. When will this forced religiousness end in India.... And by the way, Mohammed did not have electricity when he made Islam. Why do I have to have this cacophony after Edison? I don’t believe in any temple or gurudwara using electricity To wake up people who don’t follow the religion. Why then..? Honest? True? Gundagardi hai bus.
Sonu found himself caught in a whirlpool of flak from not just the Twitterati, but even celebrities. A lot of B-town stars criticised Sonu. Actor-filmmaker Pooja Bhatt was one of the first ones to tweet her reaction. Taking a jibe at the singer, she wrote, "I wake each morning to the sound of church bells & the Azaan in a quiet by-lane of Bandra. I light an aggarbatti & salute the spirit of India."
Singer Mika Singh had an advice for Sonu. "Big bro I respect u lot as a singer .. I think you should change your house and stay somewhere else instead of changing loud speakers." He added in another tweet, "Guys Gurdwaras, Mandirs, masjids and churches aren’t only for loud speakers. They represent charity, langars and honourable things.."
Amid the entire Sonu Nigam azaan row, an old video of actor Priyanka Chopra resurfaced which dates back to her promoting Jai Gangaajal where she is saying, "In Bhopal, the most interesting time of the day is evening when one could hear to the divine Azaan. After pack up, at sunset, I sit on my terrace here where I can listen to Azaan which probably comes from six Masjids. Those five minutes have a strange peace in it. That time of the day is my favourite and the sound of Azaan is like music to my ears."
And while a lot of stars are posting their disapproval over Sonu’s azaan comments, actor Richa Chadha came out in support of Sonu. She tweeted, "People will misunderstand your tweet n give it a communal tinge, only those who know you will know you mean not to stoke a fire."
Gul Panag tweeted, "Loudspeakers at ALL places of worship are an avoidable imposition." Earlier, while speaking to ANI, she said, "There should be a limit on the volume of loud speakers, at all religious places so that people in the locality are not disturbed."
Actor-comedian Sunil Grover might be keeping away from reacting on his spat with Kapil Sharma, but he surely had something to say on the Sonu Nigam row. Sunil tweeted, "I know @sonunigam sir he won’t hurt anyone’s religious sentiments ever. He respects all. Lets not misinterpret n give it a religious tinge."
Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri also lent support to Sonu. He wrote, “I am willing to sponsor a campaign against illegal blaring of Azaan and other prayers on loudspeakers. Suggest a creative hashtag.” He went on to tag Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, to look into the matter. Vivek wrote, “Dear @DevFadnavis pl note and help us force police to act against illegal blaring of Azaan and other such activities.”
Screenwriter Apurva Asrani tweeted, "Don’t want to hear the Azaan at dawn, nor do I want to hear a Chikni Chameli tuned Ganesh Aarti at dusk. Ban ALL loudspeakering of religion."
Parineeti Chopra, during the launch of a new song from her upcoming film Meri Pyaari Bindu on Tuesday was asked about her take on Sonu Nigam’s azaan rant, to which she said, "I really feel everybody has his or her own opinion and it is his or her choice to state that in their home or on Twitter. Personally, I don’t have any opinion on this. Main apni life mein mast hoon."
Giving Parineeti his support, her co-star Ayushmann Khurrana added, “I think that’s the beauty of our country. In our democracy, we can give and take opinions. We can say good and bad things. Still, we all are living. That’s the beauty of our country. You say something, it might be liked or criticised. But yes, being in the public eye… It depends on you how you want to use that tool.”
Actor Renuka Shahane took to her Facebook page and wrote a long post sharing her childhood memories with temple loudspeakers near her area. Apart from several things, she said, "God can hear even our silences. But then how will we prove how much we love God without making a noise & show of it?" By the end of her detailed post, Renuka said while Sonu has the right to put forward his opinions, but the ‘manner and tone’ in which he said was not right. Her last line sums up the entire controversy that has hogged Sonu Nigam’a life for past three days. She wrote, "It could perhaps be the only false note in Sonu’s entire rich musical career! Or maybe he’s trying to hit the ‘right’ note??"
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