Sonu Nigam, who ruffled feathers with his anti-azaan remark earlier this week, responded to a West Bengal maulvi's Rs 10-lakh tonsure challenge in style. The singer invited celebrity hairstylist Aalim Hakim to shave off his head yesterday, a move that he claims left his son, Nevaan, shocked.
Syed Sha Atef Ali Al Quaderi, vice president of West Bengal Minority United Council, had issued a fatwa against Sonu for his controversial tweets over the disturbance that the azaan on loudspeakers caused. After tonsuring his head in full media glare, Sonu raked up the intolerance debate as he said, "This [protests against his comments] also signifies how intolerant we are. That's why I decided to do what he (maulvi) wanted. Tumne jo kaha, maine kiya. Ab bol."
He added that while he had referred to the general use of loudspeakers in places of worship, haters and cynics only note of his Azaan remark. "Jahalat (partial knowledge) ki hadh hoti hai. I consider Mohammed Rafi my guru. My driver is a Muslim. I am not anti-Muslim, I consider myself secular."
Sonu told mid-day that he refrained from speaking to the media until yesterday because he had nothing more to add to what he'd already said on Twitter. Did the maulvi try contacting him directly? "I don't give access to people. He is not that significant anyway. I knew he would back down."
Asked if he's disturbed and he says with a smile, "I hope this evokes a sense of being reasonable in this country. I am not a left wing or right wing person. I am right in the centre. We need more people who don't just talk aggressive stuff, and make sense." However, he admitted that his family has been concerned over the episode. "Nevaan (son) was shocked to see me like this (shaved head) today. But this had to be done."