Let us try to understand the term “forced religiousness“, coined by the infamous Sonu Nigam, everyone’s favourite singer and Twitterati, when he was forcibly woken up by a sudden call for prayer. What makes it particularly hilarious is that after all these years, his sleep was disturbed only now by this call for prayer.
Is he deliberately sparking a controversy right before the release of his comeback single, Gulabi Aankhen – 2.0? While this may seem interesting, even plausible to some, does he really need to generate controversy around a call for prayer to announce his comeback? What, then, is the logic behind this?
If, as Sonu Nigam wisely posits in his tweets, the Prophet Muhammad did not have electricity in his time because Edison discovered it much later, it must also be acknowledged that population density was not so great in the Prophet’s time that a call for prayers would need the extra amplification provided by electricity to make it audible to all.
I sincerely respect all religions, and every religion has a right to practise their cultural beliefs and religious faiths. Almost all religions use the medium of loudspeakers for their religious processions, and the call for azaan is nothing unique to be choked up over. It must also be noted that while religious freedom is a fundamental right, the noise pollution law has clearly specified the prescribed limits for loudspeakers usage in public.
As per the Noise Pollution (Control and Regulation) Rules, 2000, 50dB during the day and 40 dB at night for silence zones, and 55 dB during the day and 45dB at night for residential areas, are the strict limits to be adhered to. If these are violated, a necessary disciplinary approach must certainly be taken. The illegal use of high-decibel loudspeakers is a matter of concern and we need a robust mechanism to implement this law.
But this does not, in any way, support Sonu Nigam excitedly grabbing attention by tweeting about the “gundagardi” of religion. While I am sure that if there is a lot of disturbance, things can be solved amicably through the medium of discussions. There is no need to blow things out of proportion and create an environment where Sonu Nigam can behave as a catalyst for his own good and come out with flying colours in his own world, thinking that he has done a great job.
The very concept of azaan is a call for prayers, and this call for prayer, which barely lasts for 2-3 minutes, has to be both resonant and easy on the ears. I am proud to say that I live in a secular country which is blessed with bhajan, church bells, azaan, kirtan, and more. And yes, we must all follow the correct decibel level as laid down in the Noise Pollution law.
To sum up: Sonu jee ye to shraddha aur aastha ki baat hain..aap to khud nek insaan ho, ye achaanak Gulaabi Aankhen kyu khul gayi neend se!