Indian Singer Sonu Nigam is in the middle of a controversy, after he said in a tweet that Muslim prayer calls are nothing but cacophony. He also said on Twitter that it is “forced religiousness.” Nigam, regarded as one of the top singers Bollywood has ever produced, does not like the fact that his sleep gets disturbed by the early morning prayer calls on the loudspeaker.
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
— Sonu Nigam (@sonunigam) April 16, 2017
Gundagardi hai bus…
— Sonu Nigam (@sonunigam) April 17, 2017
— Afsha Khan Jayapal (@AfshaJayapal) April 17, 2017
Syed Sha Atef Ali Al Quaderi of the West Bengal Minority Council issued a fatwa against Sonu and offered one million Indian rupees ($15,500) to anybody who could shave the singers head and make him wear a garland made of old shoes, an ancient way of disgracing people in India. Sonu, who has been taking on trolls on Twitter, took it to the next level and shaved his head and asked the Muslim cleric to keep the fatwa money ready.
Sonu Nigam said it was a symbolic move to shave his head. It was his way of fighting religious fanatics. He said one should not “just hide and comment from Twitter.” The 43-year-old singer’s Monday tweet about Islamic prayer calls has created a huge controversy in India and abroad. Many people have been offended by the singer’s choice of words while criticizing the loudspeaker culture in India. Nigam has called the early morning prayer call as “gundagardi” (hooliganism). However, the Indian singer believes that his comment has nothing to do with religion. He considers it a social issue, not a religious one.
“I consider myself secular, neither am I right wing or left wing and there are very few people like me, I am actually the minority community.”
Sonu Nigam posted a number of tweets to clarify his stance. But, he believes that he has been misinterpreted. According to the Bollywood singer, he has not talking about any particular religion. He talked about Hindu processions where people dance on roads and push each other. For him, such actions should also be regarded as hooliganism. Nigam has told the press the he has no intentions to get misunderstood. The singer, who made it to the Oscar 2015 nomination list for “Jal,” recently judged Indian Idol Season 9, the Indian version of American Idol.
Sonu Nigam’s controversial post on Twitter has received strong criticism, especially from the members of the Muslim community. One of the people called Nigam “mentally unstable” for making such a comment. Another user believes his intention was fine, but the choice of words was not. Nigam replied to the comment and said he was restricted by the number of characters allowed in a tweet.
“There is only so much articulation Twitter permits… due to its words limitations. Thus you have to read the entire series of tweets.”
Interestingly, the person who shaved Sonu Nigam’s head is a Muslim by faith. Aalim Hakim, a renowned hair stylist in Bollywood, asked for the Fatwa money from the cleric so that he could donate it to some charity.
Sonu Nigam gets his head shaved after a Fatwa was issued announcing 10 Lakhs for anyone who shaves Nigam’s head pic.twitter.com/wWUZmnmb8N
— ANI (@ANI_news) April 19, 2017
The Muslim cleric is, however, not ready to give the money to Hakim or Nigam as they have not fulfilled all the conditions. He told NDTV that Sonu Nigam, with his shaved head and a garland of shoes, must also visit every Indian house. Only then should he expect the fatwa money, the cleric said.
In one of his arguments against using loudspeakers for prayer calls, Sonu Nigam said that Muhammad did not have electricity when “he made Islam.”
How these tweets have been misconstrued…. pic.twitter.com/fBT6bokQDP
— Kamalrukh Khan (@kamalrukhkhan) April 18, 2017
“Why do I have to have this cacophony after Edison?” Nigam asked.
[Featured Image by Phil McCarten/AP Images for Vijay Amritraj Foundation]