It’s Ramadan, and the chairman of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, has suddenly turned ‘radio active’.
From the first day of the Islamic month of fasting he has been appearing as a guest in `Big Nun Chai’, a breakfast music show on Big FM, talking to his audience about Islam.
On the first day the Mirwaiz spoke about the essence of Ramadan. In the next couple of days some of the topics he covered were — Namaz (prayer), Haj (pilgrimage) and Zakat (religious tax).
Though Islamic naats (religious hyms) have replaced Bollywood numbers, the programme has kept its tone modern keeping in mind the younger audience.
The show's host RJ Haya said, “Call-in is not possible as we have to stick to the Mirwaiz’s schedule but listeners are writing to me and leaving questions on my Facebook page, which I include in the interview.'’
The Mirwaiz, who is also the head cleric of the Jama Masjid in Srinagar has been placed under house arrest several times during this period, the latest being on Thursday. The show, however, has continued uninterrupted.
“Even if I am under house arrest, the team comes to my home to record the programme a day before it is scheduled to go on air,’’ said the Mirwaiz.
The Mirwaiz dubs the radio programme his alternate platform.
“Besides my political identity I also have my role as the Valley’s head priest. If the government is closing one way I have to find an alternate platform to fulfil my role,’’ he added.
The programme has come as a surprise not only to FM listeners but also followers of the Mirwaiz. “The Mirwaiz never lets go an opportunity to talk politics but this is the first time I have heard him speak about nothing but religion,’’ said Niyaz Ahmad, a resident of the old city in Srinagar, who prays in Jama Masjid where the Mirwaiz delivers his sermons.