Sonu Nigam’s Azaan controversy: A desperate attempt for publicity or a step towards change?


Sonu Nigam’s Azaan controversy: A desperate attempt for publicity or a step towards change?

Let’s face it, we all have fallen in love with his voice at some point in our lives. However, this time Sonu Nigam’s notes did not seem as melodious to many, as it had apparently a tinge of conflict and hostility, whether deliberate or unintentional.

When Sonu took to the most popular social networking site to voice his opinion on a sensitive topic such as Azaan, it is difficult to fathom that he did not realize the would-be consequences of his actions. However, the real question being – was Sonu rooting for a change in society that led towards a more peaceful co-existence of humans and animals, without having to forcefully endure loud noises when you don’t wish to – Or was Sonu, the maestro of music, looking for publicity in the extremely competitive, big bad world of Bollywood?

Well, regardless of Sonu’s intentions, did you know that this is not the first time there has been a discussion on the use of loudspeakers in religious institutions?

Last year, the Bombay High Court observed that no religion or sect could claim that the right to use a loudspeaker was a fundamental right conferred by Article 25 of the Constitution of India.

“We hold that all places of religion are bound by noise pollution rules. No religion or sect can claim the fundamental right for using a loudspeaker or public address system. We clarify that all places of religion shall scrupulously follow noise pollution rules and no place shall be allowed to use loudspeakers or PA systems without obtaining permission,” the court had ruled. “The permission granted to erect pandal or booth does not enable anyone to carry out digging on footpaths or roads or of displaying advertisement unless specific permissions are obtained for the same,” the bench had further observed. There are several other laws which provide an exact case of noise pollution in residential areas like using loudspeakers and DJs.

Well, however, we know our country better than that to know that rules are meant to be broken here. As true-blue Indians, with the spirit of a lion, we rejoice over the wonderfully melodious music played on several loudspeakers on various festive occasions of Ganpati and Dasshera and feel a sense of peacefulness over the early morning Azaans. As Shah Rukh Khan tweeted during the recent Holi celebrations, “My beautiful neighbours have been dancing to loud music since noon. So happy instead of working I am humming I’m in love with the shape of you.” That’s how we celebrate the spirit of our Indianness. We, being, the young, hale and hearty citizens of the country. However, do we feel sorry for the elderly, infants, the sick and the, well, fussy(?), citizens like Sonu Nigam? Maybe we do, when we are done with having all our fun.

So, where do we draw the line? That is a thought to ponder, for all of us. Whatever be Sonu Nigam’s intentions, maybe we could use this opportunity to make our country a more peaceful haven for all citizens Or we could go on carrying forward the same catch 22 situation ahead.

That’s right, in a country like ours, it is more our choice than the law’s, as it happens.