Sonu Nigam’s azaan tweet row: An unnecessary elongation that skirts around the civic issue

The Twitter imbroglio overall reads like an unnecessary elongation of a battle-of-egos that skirts around the actual civic issue.

Written by Nandini Rathi | New Delhi | Updated: April 20, 2017 10:55 am
sonu nigam head shaved, sonu nigam bald, sonu nigam azaan, sonu nigam fatwa, Syed Sha Atef Ali Al Quaderi, sonu nigam Syed Sha Atef Ali Al Quaderi, Syed Sha Atef Ali Al Quaderi fatwa against sonu nigam, sonu nigam 10 lakhs, sonu nigam shave, sonu nigam noise pollution, priyanka chopra azaan, sonu nigam loudspeaker ban, sonu nigam anti muslim, pooja bhatt sonu nigam, sonu nigam tweets, indian express, indian express news Sonu Nigam shaved off his head on Wednesday in response to a Muslim cleric who promised Rs 10 Lakhs as reward to anyone who would shave Nigam’s head, embellish and parade him around with a shoe garland.

A theatre of the absurd has been underway since singer Sonu Nigam tweeted up a storm Monday morning protesting against the use of loudspeakers for the call to Azaan, referring to the practice as “gundagardi”. For this, he was criticised, praised and trolled all day, which led him to attempt a clarification stating that his opposition was solely anti-loudspeaker. That however only stoked the non-event further, earning a smattering of jibes from within the Bollywood fraternity too. As if that wasn’t enough, a Kolkata-based cleric jumped right in on Tuesday with an award of Rs 10 lakh for shaving Nigam’s head. Syed Sha Atef Ali Al Quaderi, vice president of the West Bengal Minority United Council, stated: “If anyone can shave his [Nigam’s] hair, put a garland of old torn shoes around his neck and tour him around the country, I personally announce an award of Rs 10 lakh for that person.” As per a DNA report, Quaderi claimed that he would have done the same if “one had talked ill about the sound of bells coming from a temple as well … People like Nigam should be driven out of the country.”

A happily provoked, unfazed Nigam tweet-announced on Wednesday, February 19, “Today at 2pm Aalim will come to my place, and shave my head. Keep your 10 lakhs ready Maulavi” and recently followed through on that, putting the Quaderi and his brazenly comic fatwa in a rather absurd position. Nigam is now steadfastly claiming his earned reward. Most recently, the cleric has only emphasised his nonsensical demands instead of taking them back, by asking Nigam to carry through the shoe-garland and the parading too, in order the claim the reward.

It is certainly worth wondering whether this whole ensemble isn’t a bit too much drama, especially in the way a slumbering celebrity went about making it a personal issue out of the blue. It thus understandably comes off as a publicity stunt, complete with a bustling press conference this afternoon. Nigam did make efforts to clarify his issues as a secular, general issue and not limited to any particular religion. The issue of religious tolerance-intolerance got sucked into the cocktail anyway, because in India “secular” means all religions rather than non-religion.

The unfolding also put a spotlight on the laughing stock of absurdity that the idea of fatwa has become in the recent years. Fatwas, which are technically a legal opinion rather than a binding ruling, have frequently been issued as a pure rhetoric effect in vacuum of the real world and practicality. A Google search of “ridiculous” leads to the suggestion of “fatwa” as the next word, followed by an abundance of question threads and listicles about the most bizarre of them populating the search results. While his statement was eventually clarified as a non-Fatwa, cleric Quaderi in this case was clearly not concerned that his words could be interpreted literally – for announcing rewards on silly causes is easy but to produce the sum isn’t. Surely, something defined as an opinion by a legitimate body should try to be more discerning and incorporate real world sense into their invocations instead of diving headfirst at non-events.

The Sonu Nigam Twitter imbroglio reads like an unnecessary elongation of a battle-of-egos that skirts around the actual civic issue. It goes on, but what is being achieved? Any enforceable curbing of noise pollution of urban India — defined by acceptable time slots and decibel limits, and manifesting in greater forms than just Azaan calls — is yet to come up in discussion.

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  1. R
    reshma thomas
    Apr 23, 2017 at 11:09 am
    Heres what I have to say to every loud speaker fanatic: Just as praying and playing religious music is your fundamental right, finding peace within my home is mine. Freedom to practise your religion is not a sufficient reason to steal my right to peace.
    1. R
      Apr 21, 2017 at 3:46 pm
      Spnu Nigam has put spot light on the violent cult of fatwas spewing kathmulls. Fatwa practice is not comical for zombie followers of katmullas. It put enormous fear in the mind of people who wants to confront katmullas for their law lessness and bigotry. This sikular as usual trying to make light of the issue of brazen rule braking by mosques and kathmullas. This pi g should know that one person was already stabbed in MP by katmulla zombie for supporting Sonu Nigam. This is exactly Sonu Nigam was indicating when he said 'sub gunda gardi hai.
      1. S
        S.K. Express
        Apr 21, 2017 at 10:43 am
        Sonu Nigam said the right thing. However, he said something against a practice of the Muslims. How could he? Now, the entire "secular" brigade (including the Maulavi who being a Muslim cannot be non-secular) is after Mr. Nigam. Article after article, nonsense after nonsense are uttered about the practices of Hindus by columnists in this newspaper and elsewhere in the newsmedia. The "secular" brigade actually contributes to those articles without shame.
        1. S
          Apr 21, 2017 at 1:01 am
          Why people are not able to differentiate between once a while noise to the daily noise? Which sound is most irritating when you hear it while resting or when you are engaged in work? (Hindu festival come once in a year. No temple play Bhajan before 6 AM as well as after 11 PM, also if someone complain about it the reduce volume immediately. Most of the celebration end before 12 AM.)
          1. N
            Apr 20, 2017 at 3:24 pm
            It is ludicrous that people create a controversy where none exists, and then each one gives an opinion that is distorted, illogical or biased. Sonu Nigam’s statement against azaan on loudspeakers is neither controversial nor anti-muslim. He objected to noise pollution which is illegal and torturous to inhabitants surrounding mosques, at least the non-muslims. No religion has a right to disturb public peace by forcing high decibel prayer calls five times a day. When decades of banning azaan has failed and even court orders are not enforced, any law abiding citizen suffering severe noise pollution will use the word “gundagiri”. Isn’t a law breaker loosely called a “gunda”? Don’t paint this statement with a religious colour, and mani te the valid intention. Why should azaan be allowed to wake me up at 5 or 6 am if I am a late riser, or torment me periodically for the rest of the day? No court should accept such disturbances as legally permissible even for 3 mins if above 40 decibels.
            1. A
              Ankit Kumar
              Apr 20, 2017 at 12:38 pm
              If people have any problem than it should be... Because it is not related to any kind of prayer... It's not so important.. Sometimes it creates noise pollution ..
            2. P
              Prof. S.V. Gedam
              Apr 20, 2017 at 12:34 pm
              Since I was asked to voice my thoughts, I am writing here. Now the Author should demonstrate propriety and read what I have to say. Making noise in the society thru use of loud speakers by ANY PERSON/RELIGION, amounts to creation of nuisance for at least some people. Why should any one suffer because a fraction of people want to propagate religion (Const Art. 25)? Any use of religious propagation is bound by public order and health. Unregulated loud speakers are for anyone with scientific orientation and conscious of his legal rights. I am an atheist and humanist. A few days before, I was planning to meet District Collector to urge in the interest of Public Order to prohibit all these loud speakers. In views of above legal position, ALL loud speakers should be banned in ALL religious places. P.S. Yes, we are a chaotic society with hundreds of festivals. But that entropy should not intimidate us from taking a first step in the right direction if we wish to make India more peaceful.
              1. D
                Apr 21, 2017 at 10:21 am
                Well said. No loudspeakers. Period.
              2. B
                Apr 20, 2017 at 11:05 am
                Dear author, You are right that the real issue is sound pollution, decibel levels, allowed time limits for music, etc. are the real issues. However if someone simply raise those issues, no one gives importance. Because the effect of sound pollution is like slow death. We may not react when we hear the loudspeakers for the first 10-12 times or 15-20 times. But when this goes on every day or week of the year, it gets intolerable. That's when a reaction similar to what Sony Nigam showed just happens. PLEASE DO NOT IGNORE THIS ISSUE IN THE NAME OF UNNECESSARY ELONGATION. DO SOMETHING IF YOU CAN.
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