The singer gave a fitting response to the maulvi who offered Rs 10 lakh to anyone who would shave his head, following Sonu’s azaan tweet.
Singer Sonu Nigam has been taking on his detractors head on — quite literally. On Wednesday, the actor made a strong statement on his ‘democratic right’ when he appeared before the media with a shiny bald pate — answering a Muslim cleric’s open offer of a Rs 10-lakh bounty to anyone who would shave Sonu’s head.
The Muslim cleric’s statement was sparked by Sonu Nigam’s tweet on April 17 questioning the loud call of the ‘azaan’ in the morning and also asking when “forced religiousness would end in India”.
Quoting from a newspaper that carried the Maulvi’s statement, Sonu asked the latter to keep a sum of Rs 10,00,000 ready when he tweeted, “Today at 2 pm Aalim will come to my place, and shave my head. Keep your 10 lakhs ready Maulavi.” He later invited the media to be part of the event. The singer appeared before the media bald at his home on Wednesday afternoon and said, “I believe in all faiths and I didn’t speak against any religion.”
The singer, who was branded as ‘anti-Muslim’ for his tweets, said: “Jiss insaan ne poori zindagi Mohd Rafi sahab ko apna pita maana hai, jiske guru ka naam Ustad Gulam Mustafa Khan sahab hai, us insaan ke baare mein koi aisa soche, kahe ya taunt kare ki anti-Muslim hai, toh ye meri problem nahi hai, ye aapki problem hai. (I’ve spent my life idolising Mohd Rafi as a father figure, my teacher is Ustad Gulam Mustafa Khan. If I am being labelled anti-Muslim… it’s not my problem, it’s yours).”
Sonu also stressed on how it is his democratic right to have an opinion. “This is a social topic, not a religious one. I have a right to my opinion. I am neither left wing, nor right wing. I am in the middle. I am a believer but I don’t think my religion is the best, and neither should anybody else. We have to fight fanaticism. Azaan is important, loudspeakers are not. The same goes with aarti. One doesn’t need loudspeakers. That’s the point I am trying to make. All I ask for is that we be considerate of each other like the big countries in the world are. Whether it is a temple, masjid or a gurudwara, loudspeakers are not a necessity. I tweeted about them too, but people paid attention to the azaan tweet.”
Reiterating his aversion to cacophony that spans across religions he said, “When someone uses loudspeakers, it is their way of saying, ‘This is my religion’. The same thing happens when people dance drunk on the streets during religious processions. I am against all that.”
Lastly he asked, if singers are expected to adhere to the 10 pm time limit when it comes to high decibel levels, why should anyone else be excused.
Meanwhile, celebrity hairstylist Hakim Aalim who shaved Sonu’s head told media persons that he was waiting for the bounty, that he could offer for charity.
The cleric Sayed Al Quaderi, on the other hand, reminded the two that he has also asked for Sonu to be paraded with a garland of old shoes as well.
— Inputs by Lipika Varma