Singer Sonu Nigam climbed to the top of Twitter’s trending chart on Monday morning over a series of posts questioning the use of loudspeakers by places of worship with a complaint about the muezzin’s call to prayer. “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 (sic),” he posted.
“Why do I have to have this cacophony after Edison? I don’t believe in any temple or gurudwara using electricity To (sic) wake up people who don’t follow the religion. Why then..? Honest? True? Gundagardi hai bus(just hooliganism)…” he tweeted to his 5.94 million followers.
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
The comments were in circulation on social media all day, and while the demand to ban high decibel broadcasts found resonance, some saw Nigam’s rant as targeted at a specific community, which ended up polarizing the debate. Some users also questioned Nigam’s past performances at jagratas, which also involve the use of loudspeakers. Today, mosques and temples, big and small, take pride in delivering their sermons via loudspeakers despite the Bombay high court directing religious places to follow silence zone norms. “I’ve complained at least 30 times about music blaring from speakers during Hindu festivals, including Ram Navmi and Gudi Padwa, but when it comes to religious places, cops are very hesitant about taking action,” said a Mumbaikar who did not want to be named.
Many Muslim leaders and activists too criticize the muezzin’s call as “needless” and one which the community should regulate. However, Nigam’s choice of words fell foul of this section too.
“I don’t disagree with Sonu Nigam if he’s speaking as an Indian about the use of loudspeakers across all religions. But I disagree with his choice of words. We have to be a little mature… and speak in a manner that will yield positive results and not make religion a factor. Especially at such times when Muslims are feeling discriminated against,” said Islamic scholar Zeenat Shaukat Ali.
MLA Arif Naseem Khan of Congress denounced Nigam’s remarks as “a publicity stunt” and added, “I think he wants to join a political party. But why disrupt communal harmony with such polarizing statements…?”
Despite several attempts, Nigam remained unavailable for comment.
Source: Times of India