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Sonu Nigam shaves his head, asks maulvi for Rs10 lakh prize money

Taking the clergy's threat as a challenge, Nigam got hairstylist Hakim Alim to shave his head.

Mayur Lookhar

Sonu Nigam proved that his words weren't hollow when he actually got good friend Hakim Alim to shave his head. A Muslim maulvi (clergy) from Kolkata had issued a fatwa against the singer for his controversial comment on loudspeakers for azaan on Twitter.

On Monday, Nigam triggered a debate after he criticised the use of loudspeakers at odd hours in religious places.

Syed Sha Atef Ali Al Quaderi, vice-president, West Bengal Minority United Council, had announced an award of Rs10 lakh for anyone who could shave Nigam’s hair, put a garland of old torn shoes around his neck and tour him around the country. Taking the threat as a challenge, Nigam got Alim, a Muslim, to shave his head. The singer had asked the clergy to keep the prize money ready.

On Wednesday morning, Nigam held a press conference at his residence to remind critics that he wasn’t targeting any religion.

“I request the media to not sensationalise this. Hakim is a dear friend. Him shaving my head is no agitation by him. The reason I chose him was to prove to the detractors that how any issue can be resolved in a peaceful manner. This is the way we should end all the negativity. I wanted to prove how the fatwa could be carried out peacefully,” he said.

Nigam reminded that he was raising a social issue and not a religious one. One of the journalists claimed to have spoken to the local mosque clergies who told him that the singer was creating trouble for the mosque for the last six months. Nigam defended himself saying that he had never visited the mosque.

While commenting on the fatwa, Nigam said, “This (fatwa) is precisely the goondagardi (hooliganism) that I was referring to. Where are we taking this nation? I never say that my religion is the best. We have to fight this fanaticism. How long will we just keep expressing our views through Twitter?

The singer was also criticised for disrespecting Prophet Mohammed by merely referring to him by his name in his tweet.

Nigam was apologetic for referring to the prophet by his name. He said, "I'd like to apologise to anyone who felt hurt by my comments. When we write in English, we write Shiva not Shiv, I don’t expect my Muslim brothers to say Jai Shree Krishna. So, they would merely say Krishna. Similarly, I referred to the prophet as Mohammed. It was never my intent to disrespect the prophet.”

Speaking on the use of loudspeakers, Nigam was reminded how he himself used them for stage shows and especially during Hindi festivals and performing bhajans. “I agree with you that it is wrong. But there is a difference, our stage shows, loudspeakers shut after 10pm,” Nigam concluded.