Sonu Nigam goes bald after his Azaan Row Controversy
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.
Syed Sha Atef Ali Al Quaderi, vice president of West Bengal Minority United Council, had issued a fatwa against Sonu for his controversial tweets over the disturbance that the azaan on loudspeakers caused. After tonsuring his head in full media glare, Sonu raked up the intolerance debate as he said, “This [protests against his comments] also signifies how intolerant we are. That’s why I decided to do what he (maulvi) wanted. Tumne jo kaha, maine kiya. Ab bol.”
He added that while he had referred to the general use of loudspeakers in places of worship, haters and cynics only note of his Azaan remark. “Jahalat (partial knowledge) ki hadh hoti hai. I consider Mohammed Rafi my guru. My driver is a Muslim. I am not anti-Muslim, I consider myself secular.”
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 a 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.
Sonu told mid-day that he refrained from speaking to the media until yesterday because he had nothing more to add to what he’d already said on Twitter. Did the maulvi try contacting him directly? “I don’t give access to people. He is not that significant anyway. I knew he would back down.”
Asked if he’s disturbed and he says with a smile, “I hope this evokes a sense of being reasonable in this country. I am not a left wing or right wing person. I am right in the centre. We need more people who don’t just talk aggressive stuff, and make sense.” However, he admitted that his family has been concerned over the episode. “Nevaan (son) was shocked to see me like this (shaved head) today. But this had to be done.”
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.
Meanwhile Sonu Nigam’s neighbour Shraddha Das tells a different story.
The ‘Great Grand Masti’ (2016) and ‘Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji’ (2010) actress Shraddha Das lives in the vicinity of Sonu Nigam’s home at Versova.
Yesterday, she took to Facebook to say that she has not faced any noise issues due to the azaan. On Monday, Sonu created a stir by tweeting that the azaan was disturbing his sleep.
Shraddha wrote, “I live right next to him, but strangely I have never heard the azaan in the morning at my place. It is hardly audible. I hear he just shaved his head and for the first time there is so much traffic outside our homes.” Shraddha later deleted the post to avoid controversy. So does Sonu own multiple homes, like most B-Town folk, and perhaps heard the azaan at one of his abodes elsewhere?