One fine morning, famous singer Sonu Nigam woke up angry. First thing he did, like most urban Indian males and females do, was to look at his smart mobile phone. There was nothing new or interesting. Irritated, Sonu tweeted that he is forced to wake up early in the morning, because azaan call from a nearby masjid. Sonu expressed his displeasure at religiosity thrust upon him, more so when he did not belong to the faith. Predictably, twit created a storm in the twitter cup. Twitterati started trolling anything that came with the name Sonu. Caught in this maelstorm of anger was Sonu Sood. Looking at the photo in his twitter handle, several offended souls decided to attack the other Sonu. The more muscular and better built of two Sonus. Unprepared Sonu Sood was jumped upon and heckled even before he could understand what had hit him.
As the issue assumed a significant dimension, a TV channel organised a prime time debate in a program called Right, Left and No Centre. Lady anchor introduced participants from ruling BJP and opposition party congress. In addition, there were expert commentators from Hindu right, as well as left liberal circuit.
Aggressive, assertive and visibly agitated anchor attacked ruling party spokesperson, tell me “ is Modi government is contemplating banning Azaan from mosques? Why, why, why otherwise apolitical Sonu Nigam complained about Azaan? Why does he have to sleep so long?”
Ruling party spokesperson was feeling relieved that he did not have to defend lynching of a man by gau rakshak or army man using Kashmiri man as human shield. Compared to other issues, this was an easy assignment. He started by claiming, “Party has nothing to do with the tweet. Sonu is not even a party member. As an individual, it is his right to express himself. Is it not what we all want, more and more freedom of expression!” Then in his long winding style, spokee started from genesis of azaan to explosion of MOAB in Afghanistan to Sonu Nigam’s sleep disturbance.
Anchor was getting impatient, and looked at oppostion member as asked him, “is Sonu Nigam intolerant? Is it or is it not a fact that intolerance is on the rise in India in recent times?”
Opposition mouthpiece claimed every problem from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, from beef ban to triple talaq, from Naga insurgency to terror attack on army base, happened because India voted out secular parties. Latent right wing fringe elements, like Sonu Nigam, are getting emboldened every day right of centre BJP is in power. Minority life, livlihood and survival are at stake. Only solution is bring back opposition parties to power.
Anchor then moved her attention to professor and lawyer. By the way, both of them are permanent fixtures of many animated discussion in different channels. God knows when they attend their professional duties in class room or court house. Anchor asked “tell me professor, what is the difficulty with listening call to prayer from a mosque? Do you not feel happy to hear first thing in the morning?”
Professor started to elaborate how civil liberties of Sonu Nigam is being trampled upon by forcing him to hear azaan. A man has to sleep after all after a hard days work. Sonu works very hard. So he deserves his sleep.
Then she looked at the lawyer and asked “ by raising his objection against azaan, is Sonu Nigam not insulting sensitibility of minority community?”
Lawyer argued “Sonu is behaving in a majoritarian way. This is not how a secular country should work. Legally he cannot do anything. So he is destroying colorful mosaic of Indian democracy!”
Anchor interrupted the lawyer because a breaking news happened. Sonu Nigam had tweeted that he cannot go to sleep because of a neighborhood mata ki chowki.” Debate hour ended for prime time news. Participants promised to return next day to debate how Sonu Nigam is changing his position under secular influence and how majoritarian view cannot suppress diversity of India. Long live Indian free speech.