Needless to say, Sonu Nigam’s rant against azaan last week shook up much of Bollywood.
Perhaps his words were taken out of proportion, who knows? But Indian media has been ablaze since they were uttered, with many notable figures either supporting or admonishing the renowned playback singer for feeling “disturbed” in the morning by the call to prayer.
“But the amplification of azaan comes from insecurity. As a minority, you would like to make your presence felt and hopefully, accepted. If someone says that it should be extinguished, then that’s bound to make you uncomfortable. It’s fine to express your views on a certain decibel level but I did think Sonu’s tweets were a bit aggressive, initially. Religion is a private affair and India should be a secular country.”
“Let me tell you one thing,” he continued, commenting on Islamophobia across the world. “There is no such thing as Muslim or a Jew, etc. We’ve created this construct of a Muslim and given it certain characteristics, that he does this or that. But we are individuals. Our views will be different, even on religion. It’s scary when we are all are called ‘the Muslim’ because it implies we all have the same beliefs and characteristics that can be easily summed up.”
When Salman Khan stopped a press conference to show respect for Azaan
Saif is of the opinion that religion, in general, should adapt to the changing times. “What we need is to create so the religion can fulfill the need of the hour; that may not be the old one anymore,” he opined. “With science and philosophy advancing in this century, religion is no longer the centre of our lives.”
According to Saif, freedom of speech is just as important but those exercising it ought to be careful. “Freedom of speech is one thing but at the same time, people will kill you if you abuse their religion,” he added. “Sitting in the comforts of our living rooms, things are different. In reality, various worlds intersect across India.”
Any discussion on freedom of speech would be incomplete without at least a mention of social media. Naturally, the ever-eloquent Kal Ho Naa Ho star gave his two cents on the impact of Facebook and Twitter on everyday human life and whether they should even be there or not.
I personally love azaan: Kangana Ranaut
“I think there is indeed a basic advantage to social media. Twitter, for example, should be about spreading the news. But unfortunately, it’s become about becoming the news,” stated Saif. “Initially, when someone criticises me on social media, I think it’s coming from a spiritual and intellectual equal. But then I realise maybe not. And I’m not interested in the opinions of faceless, nameless people; I don’t want their approval. The fame these people get over Twitter is a surrogate of stardom and comes from a comment on another celebrity. It’s not real talent being sold.”