Taking their freshly ‘secular’ and newly ‘liberal’ image forward, Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena has decided to organise an ‘Azaan Recitation Competition’. The announcement was made by Shiv Sena South Mumbai Division head Pandurang Sakpal.
Defending the decision, Shiv Sena division chief Pandurang Sakpal stated that the Azaan recitation competition will be held in line with Bhagavad Gita recitation competition. Slamming the critiques who called Sena’s move as an attempt to cosset Muslim minorities in the state, Sakpal said the decision was taken to encourage Muslim children to recite Azaan.
Speaking about how the idea of holding an Azaan recitation competition crossed his mind, Sakpal said, “I live next to the Bada Kabristan in Marine Lines. That is why I get to hear the Azaan every day. I have found the Azaan to be amazing and pleasing. Whoever hears it once, eagerly waits for the next schedule of Azaan. That is why I came up with the idea of holding Azaan competition for the children of the Muslim community.”
Shiv Sena will reward the winners of Azaan recitation contest: Sakpal
Sakpal also added that rewards will be given to children on the basis of their pronunciation, voice modulation and their recitation. Shiv Sena will bear the cost of the rewards, he said.
“The children of the Muslim community wonderfully recite Azaan. The purpose of keeping this competition is to provide a platform for talented artists. I don’t think such a competition has taken place in the entire country. This is the first experiment and we hope it will get a good response,” Sakpal said.
‘Azaan as important as Maha Aarti’: Shiv Sena functionary
Sakpal also took a dig at those questioning the competition, saying that such people should be ignored like a “rock of salt” and went on to compare Azaan to ‘Maha Aarti’.
“Azaan lasts for only 5 minutes. So, if anyone is bothered by these few minutes, he should be ignored like a rock of salt. The tradition of Azaan is several centuries old. It is not a recent phenomenon. Such protestations should be ignored. Azaan is as important as Maha Aarti. It’s a symbol of love and peace.