Film industry stands divided on Sonu Nigam’s tweets about azaan
Singer Sonu Nigam’s tweets attacking religious sentiments have angered his fans and followers. Here’s what industry people have to say about Nigam’s take on “forced religiousness”.Updated: Apr 26, 2017 09:59 IST
Social media users were in for a shock on Monday morning when singer Sonu Nigam wrote a series of tweets that questioned the need for mosques in India to use a loudspeaker while calling out for daily prayers to devotees . Seemingly annoyed by the sound of Azaan (call to prayers in a mosque), Sonu tagged it as “forced religiousness” and wrote, “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.”
Clearly, Sonu didn’t see what was coming his way next, as he continued posting a series of controversial tweets, for which he drew flak from his fans and followers that called him all sorts of names for being “insensitive” and “derogatory”.
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 singer added in his next tweet, “And by the way Mohammed did not have electricity when he made Islam.. Why do I have to have this cacophony after Edison?” This was followed by yet another blunt statement saying, “I don’t believe in any temple or gurudwara using electricity To wake up people who don’t follow the religion . Why then..? Honest? True?” He concluded saying, “Gundagardi hai bus.”
While his tweets triggered a fresh row on social media with Twitterati slamming him, people from the film industry feel that it’s a democratic country and everyone is entitled to share their own views. Actor Anupam Kher was visibly surprised to learn that these tweets were posted on Sonu Nigam’s verified Twitter page. Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt told us in a text message, “This is an ‘engineered’ affair. I refuse to be part of this silly conflict. It is also as old as hills.” Here’s what people from the music fraternity have to say about Sonu’s tweets:
I support what he has tweeted, not because he is a friend but because he is right. The law of the land is equal to all. People should be considerate towards each other. Be it Azaan or Hanuman Chalisa jaap or for any other religious practice, one must understand that noise pollution must be curtailed. Everyone has the right to enjoy their festivals and practice their religion but not at the cost of disturbing others,” says the singer adding that he is also against religious processions during various festivals as that leads to conjestion and disturbs daily life.
This is a very sensitive issue. I am a Sikh and I have many Muslim and Hindu friends, so I will never tweet something like this of course. Even if something is troubling me, I would take it in a positive stride. So I think that is his (Sonu Nigam) perspective that he wrote but definitely, it’s not a very positive tweet. We are divided into various religions in India and we are all one, but at the same time, everybody is very sensitive about their own religion. So if someone writes something derogatory about Sikhism or Punjab, of course I would not like it. I will also react the same way how others are reacting to Sonu’s tweets. I have been living in Yaari Road in Mumbai and various Muslim areas and sounds of Azaan (mosque’s call to prayers) doesn’t really bother me. I believe that anything that happens in any religion eventually becomes a part of our culture. If somebody is doing Ganpati visarjan and playing dandiya or doing Lakshmi Pooja, some people may object to the fact that roads get occupied at the time of visarjan, but you have to accept the fact that we are living in a country that has various religions and we have to accept an respect each of them.
As humans, we tend to react instinctively, and Sonu Nigam has every right to do so even as an artist and as a citizen of this country. Also, any religion or anybody seeking spiritual salvation doesn’t need a PA system to reach out to God. For me, religion & spirituality are personal matters and best practiced within one’s home. No one has a right to shove it down anyone else’s throat. In our bid to ‘live and let live’ as is the Indian way of life, we shouldn’t be scared to express ourselves about such matters? Why is everybody just waiting to get offended when it comes to religion? Why can’t we be rational and open minded to see the merit in something & discuss it like adults? Public outrage seems to be the disease of our times. Instead such situations should spark debate, conversations and affect positive change. In this case, civilised community living, lesser noise pollution. On a lighter note, please don’t sing into a microphone if you cannot hold a sur, it is traumatic to hear ‘off key’ singers belting out song after song on a PA. Be it the Azaan, Bhajans or Carols! Make your family & friends suffer, spare the rest of us.
I live near Milat Nagar and it’s very loud over there. You can’t make an issue about noise in India because there are drills happening, music playing, honks on the roads all day long. I can’t complain about noise pollution in this country. I can’t have issues that are involved with anybody’s religious beliefs anyway. I think people have stopped understanding. When someone visits me from UK, they ask me ‘what’s that’ and I tell them, it’s Azaan that happens six times, and they ask me ‘if it happens in the morning’ and I say, ‘yeah, does it bother you’, and they’re like ‘no, we’ll get used to it.’ So you just have to get used to the fact that we live here, in a messy situation because it’s a buzzy place. So we have to get along with each other and be understanding to each other. We do celebrate our religion in a loud way and we can’t complain about that. You’re not living in UK where there are rules and regulations. You live in India and have to live with each other peacefully.
Manmeet of Meet Bros duo
I am yet to find out what Sonu Nigam has tweeted but I think we should not force anything on anyone be it religion, love or ideas. Life is all about liberation. People have the right to do what they want to without harming anyone. Right to freedom is for all. Why should anything be forced on anyone?
Sonu has highlighted an important aspect of our life. Inhoney yeh bahut gehri baat boli hain. I think we can’t impose religion on anyone. Humanity is the biggest religion. You will see people preaching love and harmony but how many of us follow it? I guess proper education is the need of the hour and that can only help people realise that we should give more importance to humanity and not religion. We all talk about change that we want to bring or have brought, but mujhe lagta hain abhi kuch bhi nahin badla hain. Badlao andar sey aani chahiye jaise Kabira ne bhi bola hain.
Near my house in Delhi, there is jagrata every day and no one can say anything about it. Recently when an officer [just back from America] filed a police complaint about it, the tyres of his cars were punctured and windscreen was smashed by maata ke bhakts. In fact, my ex-bandmate [of Indian Ocean], Asheem, also said that near his house, there is a Krishna Mandir where the songs people sing are so out of tune and loud that he doubts whether it actually reaches the God. I think we shouldn’t stay close to any place of worship for that matter. And loudspeakers should be banned everywhere—religious places, political rallies, music concerts etc. It should be banned in Sonu Nigam’s concert also. I think he got irritated by being woken up by the Azaan in the morning. Ask Sonu Nigam what he thinks about blaring loudspeakers during bhajans, kirtans, concerts etc? I am sure he will have a reasoned response regarding the same.
India is a democratic country. It’s a beautiful place where people follow different religions and are living in harmony. So when many brothers and sisters are living together in a house, some kind of conflicts will obviously take place. I don’t think religion is forced on anybody. People follow what they want to. I don’t see an issue here.
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First Published: Apr 17, 2017 13:52 IST