In Hindu tradition, one shaves his head when there is a death in the family. Sonu Nigam shaved his head today, because the so-called secular-liberal beliefs of India died today.
“Secularism” in India was anyway a cancer. It kept mutating different parts of the body and it was only a matter of time when it resulted in the death of the host body. It happened today.
What started as a naively idealistic “equal respect and rights to all religions” definition of secularism was bastardized into “more respect and special rights to minority religions” by our political class, but it died today when it was turned into “no disrespect to minority religions at any cost” by the so-called intellectual class.
The case of Sonu Nigam proves it beyond doubt.
Let’s see what exactly happened:
Sonu Nigam complains about loudspeakers blaring azaan from a nearby mosque that disturbs his sleep in the wee hours of Monday. He additionally tweets that loudspeakers at any religious place – and he specifically mentions temples and gurudwaras to balance his criticism – were examples of forced religiousness in India.
Then he says that it’s nothing but gundagardi (hooliganism).
So essentially, he says that every religion is equally guilty of forced religiousness, which he equates with hooliganism.
And he gets attacked and abused by trolls and mocked by “intellectuals”.
It was so strange. Because Sonu Nigam had done something that was quintessentially “secular”.
“Every religion is equally…” hitherto had been the pickup line of so-called secular-liberal person in India. It is one of the crucial tools for attempting monkey balancing and drawing false equivalences. It is one of the passwords to get entry into liberal circles. It is a voucher to buy this paint.
You talk about triple talaq, the liberal dude will say “but every religion is equally guilty of not giving equal rights to women (look at Hindu women not allowed in some temples)”. You talk about missionaries converting poor people and the liberal dude will say “but every religion is equally indulged in such practices (look at your RSS organising ghar wapsi)”.
But things have changed now. The secular-liberal jamaat in India has now discovered that “every religion is equally” sentence is flawed. It is no longer useful somehow. Sonu Nigam used it, and they were not amused. Instead, they mocked him.
But they are not just mocking Sonu, they are disowning a hitherto employed tool of secularism. They are now graduating to the next level.
And the next level they have graduated to, is where no one is supposed to point out any drawback about “minority” religions, especially Muslims. All criticism of religions now has to be exclusively and squarely about Hinduism, and if you bring Muslims or Islam, even with “every religion is equally” caveat (which is simplistic if not stupid), you will be branded a bigot.
This was waiting to happen. We saw elements of this during the debates on Uniform Civil Code, and recently around Triple Talaq. What was taboo earlier has now become a sin and a crime – thou shall not talk about problems in minority religions, no matter what.
This belief lays bare now. With journalists like Shekhar Gupta deciding to insult Sonu Nigam for his tweets and propagandists like Rana Ayyub sharing outright lies about him, the message is quite clear – thou shall keep quiet about Islam (and criticise only Hinduism).
Even now they are making light of Sonu shaving his head. They are terming it a drama. Some pathetic people are even asking if Sonu is looking to join BJP. All this because Sonu was still stuck in an old version of secularism. He needs to upgrade. The new version is available.
Secularism has now morphed into beta version of Shariyat.