'Today at 2pm Aalim will come to my place, and shave my head. Keep your 10 lakh ready, maulavi'
Singer Sonu Nigam has shaved his head in response to demands made by a cleric, who announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for anyone who would shave the singer’s head, put a garland of old tattered shoes around his neck and tour him around the country for his comments on azaan.
The cleric’s demands were prompted by Sonu Nigam’s recent controversial tweets. On Monday, Sonu Nigam went on a rant about being woken up by the azaan, labelling it ‘forced religiousness’. He complained about the use of loudspeakers during prayer. He even called it “gundagardi”, another comment that drew heavy criticism on Twitter, with many calling him intolerant towards Islam.
Nigam shaved his head on Wednesday, saying he was doing so to lay bare the “fanaticism” which was at the heart of the extreme response from Syed Sha Atef Ali Al Quaderi, vice-president of the West Bengal Minority United Council, to his statements.
“Today at 2pm Aalim will come to my place, and shave my head. Keep your 10 lakh ready, maulavi,” Nigam tweeted, and he kept his word.
“I’ll shave my head in a while. It’s not a challenge. It’s a request. What are you doing in this country? I am a believer but I don’t think my religion is the best but yours isn’t. I don’t believe in that. You have to fight fanaticism, you can’t be quiet. I have requested Alim (celeb stylist Aalim Hakim) to come. He will shave my head but this isn’t any agitation or challenge. The one who is cutting hair is a Muslim and I am a Hindu. There is no animosity. The same language of fatwa can be communicated in a language of love. Being secular means understanding each other’s problems and not saying ‘I am only right,” added Sonu.
The cleric, Syed Sha Atef Ali Al Quaderi, was not satisfied though. Speaking to ANI, he said, “Sonu Nigam has not done all the things I asked for, two out of the three things remain unfulfilled. I will give reward of Rs 10 lakh, only when he does the remaining two – garland of old torn shoes and tour around the country.”
Quaderi had announced in an interview that he would give an award of Rs 10 lakh to anyone who could humiliate the singer in this way.