Renowned singer Sonu Nigam on Wednesday shaved off his head, hours after offering to apologize if his tweets on azaan blared from loudspeakers were seen to be anti-Muslim.
After the tweets sparked a row, a cleric in West Bengal, Syed Shah Atif Ali Al-Qaderi, announced he would give Rs 10 lakh to anyone who shaves off Sonu Nigam’s head and garlands with footwear.
Sonu Nigam took up the challenge, calling a Muslim barber to do the job.
“I have requested Aalim (Hakim) to come. He will shave my head, but it isn’t any agitation or challenge. The one who is cutting hair is a Muslim and I am a Hindu. There is no animosity,” Nigam said here.
“The same language of fatwa can be communicated through a language of love,” he added.
Nigam underlined that he never meant any offence.
“Being secular means understanding each other’s problems and not saying ‘I am only right’. ‘Aazan zaruri hai, loudspeaker nahi’ (Aazan is necessary, not the loudspeakers).
“That’s my only point. It is about the timing. Loudspeaker shouldn’t be used at a wrong time. Even when we perform, there is a proper time,” added the singer.
Nigam invited the media, saying he will go bald at 2 p.m. “Keep your Rs 10 lakh ready Moulvi,” he tweeted.
Nigam kept his word and then addressed a media conference at his residence as police beefed up security for him.
The cleric, however, refused to pay up, saying only one part of his challenge had been taken up.
The singer appeared before journalists with a clean-shaven pate, wearing spectacles and smiling away even as Muslim groups protested and threatened to move the court against him.
“All I wanted was consideration for one another… Everyone has the right to have an opinion. My opinion is in temple, masjid and gurudwara, loudspeakers are not religious necessities. It is not part of a religion.
“When loudspeakers are installed in religious places, it is sort of a declaration that ‘this is my religion’. The same goes for people dancing on roads drunk during religious processions. I am against that.
“I am very secular. I am not right or left wing. I stand in between. I’ve never had to make a speech like this. I just raised a social topic, not a religious topic,” Nigam added.
It all started on Monday when Nigam lashed out at “forced religiousness” in India after being woken up by azaan from a mosque near his home. He later clarified that he was not against any one religion.