Saif Ali Khan on Sonu Nigam azaan row: 'Amplification of the sound comes from insecurity'

FP Staff

Apr,24 2017 14:10 42 IST

The Sonu Nigam-azaan controversy refuses to die down.

After posting a bunch of tweets on how the sound of the azaan in the morning disturbs him, and how he thinks it is 'forced religiousness' (he also shaved his head as a response to a maulvi issuing a fatwa against him), Sonu Nigam posted another video with the azaan playing the background, with the title, "Good morning India".

As is the case with the industry, and also twitter for that matter, reactions to Sonu's moment in the spotlight started to pour in.

For example, filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri wanted to sponsor "a campaign against illegal blaring of azaan and other prayers on loudspeakers".

Pakistan-born Canadian writer Tarek Fatah sided with the singer, "You are spot on Sonu Nigam. Thank god there is at least one person in India who has the courage to stare down mullah bullying. Shut the 4 a.m. azaan."

Pooja Bhatt, on the other hand, said this, "I wake each morning to the sound of church bells & the Azaan in a quiet by-lane of Bandra. I light an aggarbatti & salute the spirit of India."

However, it's Saif Ali Khan's response to the whole row that is rather confusing.

He said quite a bit regarding Sonu Nigam's statements, but we can't tell what he really thinks, given he ends up contradicting himself.

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Sonu Nigam and Saif Ali Khan. Images from Twitter.

Saif first spoke about freedom of speech to Indian Express, stating that while it's one thing to say what you want, he realises that, "certain people will kill you if you abuse their religion."

He then said that he thought Sonu's tweets were aggressive initially, but he also thinks Religion should be a private affair.

He further said (and this is the confusing bit), "At one level I agree, the lesser sound the better, there should be certain decibel levels allowed across religious practices. I also understand the amplification of the sound during azaan comes from insecurity. Not just here but also in Israel apparently where three different religions co-exist. It’s been written about so I believe it’s the same. As a minority, you would like to make your presence felt and hopefully accepted. If someone says that it should be extinguished, it will make some people little uncomfortable."

Firstly, let's get to the facts.

In November last year, Isreal passed a bill that called for a ban on use of speakers for a call of religion, due to noise pollution. Isreal's PM Benjamin Netanyahu said, "Israel is committed to freedom for all religions, but is also responsible for protecting its citizens from noise."

We wonder how Saif got the impression that an amplification of the azaan is a result of religious insecurity, and that Isreal was an example of that?

And no, "It’s been written about so I believe it’s the same," is not the best reason for your statement.

He then said that as a minority you want to make your presence felt, and then further also said that he believes in India being a secular country.

Raise your hands those who can't quite understand what Saif's stance is?