"I consider myself secular, neither am I right wing or left wing and there are very few people like me, I am actually the minority community," Mr Nigam said, after his tweets objecting to the use of loudspeakers in the early morning call to prayer kicked up a storm of protests. "It is a social topic, not a religious one," Sonu Nigam said, appealing to the media and everyone else not to misinterpret what he said. Of his use of the term "gundagardi" in one his tweets, Mr Nigam said that religious processions in which people dance on roads and push others out of the way is also "gundagardi."
"We live in the same country, your children will grow up here," Sonu Nigam added, calling for greater tolerance. "I don't want to be misunderstood," he said, explaining why he was addressing the press.
Read the tweets Mr Nigam posted on Monday for which he has been widely slammed:
God bless everyone. I'm not a Muslim and I have to be woken up by the Azaan in the morning. When will this forced religiousness end in India- Sonu Nigam (@sonunigam) April 16, 2017
And by the way Mohammed did not have electricity when he made Islam.. Why do I have to have this cacophony after Edison?- Sonu Nigam (@sonunigam) April 17, 2017
I don't believe in any temple or gurudwara using electricity To wake up people who don't follow the religion . Why then..? Honest? True?- Sonu Nigam (@sonunigam) April 17, 2017
Gundagardi hai bus...- Sonu Nigam (@sonunigam) April 17, 2017
Sonu Nigam explained in subsequent posts that his objection was to the noise and the use of loudspeakers, not to the azaan itself. His tweets have been criticized as anti-Muslim and the singer has been actively responding to those opposing him on social media. Mr Nigam has also received support from several quarters, including actress Richa Chadha, who defended his ant-loudspeaker stance, if not the terms he couched it in.
Sonu Nigam is best known for his playback singing in films like Kal Ho Naa Ho and Agneepath. His body of work includes songs like Zoobi Doobi, Abhi Mujhme Kahin and Main Agar Kahoon. Mr Nigam has served as a judge on the reality show Indian Idol 9 and is now helping launch cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar as a singer.