The land of multiple religion and faith, diversity and yet united in ways we celebrate or worship. Our prayers cannot be silent affairs. It is not between God and us as individuals. We are loud about it. And we are used to it. A series of tweets by singer Sonu Nigam sparked controversy when he spoke about the early morning ‘azaans’ or call for prayer being forced into religious affairs.
Be it mosques or temples or gurudwaras, prayers are done on loudspeakers, which can be disturbing indeed for those who live nearby. Should loudspeakers be banned at places of worship?
Loud noise or sound over loudspeakers in places of residence is not allowed. Period. Between 10pm to 6am, there is not supposed to be any such speakers operating in residential areas. But most places of worship have blaring sound over loudspeakers till late night, sometimes all through the night or early in the morning. It will be sensible to turn off speakers during the wee hours.
The late night hours and early morning time is for peaceful rejuvenation and sleep. It is understandable if your religion needs you to stay up till late and practice whatever ways of reaching God that you want to but don’t make it uncomfortable for other people in the locality. There could be sick and elderly in the area and they are not going to get any better if you plan on playing religious songs all night on loudspeakers.
Prophet Mohammed, Hindu Saints, Guru Nanak, Christian Priests and all other religious saints and preachers did not use loudspeakers to preach religion. You can do the same too, hopefully. Religion is a person’s connection with the divine power and not something that he should need to spread over the area and have everyone hear it. A little bit of sensibility will not kill.
4. Religious tension
All kind of loudspeakers used in places of worship or religious gathering draw some kind of negative reaction from the people of the locality. They have led to riots and religious tensions at times. If one of them uses loudspeakers for their religious purpose, the others will do it out of vengeance as if it’s a war of whose verses are heard more often by the other. Ban it and get rid of the trouble.
They are not to be interrupted in when you live in a country with the largest diversity. Speaking in these matters will only get people into trouble. It is everyone’s own faith and they cannot be told otherwise. Let’s agree that no religion will be happy with the government interfering in their private affairs. It will only lead to controversy and name calling each other.
That’s where you went wrong Mr. Nigam. It would never have been a controversy in the first place if you had mentioned that the hooliganism you were referring to is coming from all places of worship instead of the one you so talked about. No, you don’t need to be woken up from your beauty sleep by the prayer call of another religion but you don’t get to ignore the fact that this happens at every other place of worship too.
People get used to it. That is how people of many religions live in the same locality in India. There are definitely more serious concerns with the usage of loudspeakers in mosques and temples but sleep disruption at 4am is definitely not one of them.
The loudspeakers do create disturbance. They create noise pollution that can be avoided. They disturb the sick and elderlies. But it should be done for all the religious places if it needs to be done.
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