Society is changing. Women are establishing themselves as being equally competent to men in all the arenas of life. People are also becoming more accepting of the religious diversities present, making us hope that the dream of communal harmony might be an achievable one. But it seems we still have a long way to go, especially in India, where the dissension between Hindus and Muslims has reached the musical stage.
Recently Suhana Sayeed, age 22, from Shivamogga district, Karnataka was severely trolled on Facebook for singing the Hindu devotional song “Shreekarane” (Song is from movie Gaja and praises Lord Balaji) on the Karnataka edition of music reality show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa. The Facebook Page, Mangalore Muslims (claims itself as the medium and voice of Muslims in a post), accused her of tarnishing the image of Muslims by singing a Hindu devotional song wearing a Hijab, as well as parading her beauty in front of men in a post. The post also implied that she did it all to get the favor of judges and that her parents will not go to heaven, come Judgment Day.
The initial post was subsequently deleted and Mangalore Muslims clarified that it was not a personal attack on her. But her action was deemed “non Islamic” and she was accused of embracing a “vulgar” medium. Many comments on the page do support Sayeed; referencing the fact that Hindu singers have been singing Qawwalis at every platform possible and no one bats an eye. Apost said that only Allah has the right to judge the actions of someone.
Here is Sonu Nigam singing beautifully Salaam Aap Par Tajdaar E Madina “Naat Sharif”. Although he is Hindu by religion, the beauty of his singing is appreciated by many and not shunned as in the case of Suhana Sayeed.
Another story is of a 16 year old singer Nahid Afrin who participated in Indian Idol. 46 Muslim clerics in Assam have issued fatwa against her. A fatwa is an Islamic legal pronouncement, issued by an expert in religious law. You can compare it to a supreme court ruling, except for the fact that it is not binding. They believe that she should not perform on stage as it is against Sharia laws.
“Magic, Dance, Drama, Theater etc. are against Sharia laws. Events like musical shows are against the Sharia law and future generations will be corrupted,” the pamphlet read.
Nahid is supposed to take part in a musical show on March 25th in an area with a mosque and graveyard nearby. The singer said that at first she was hurt, but she believes her voice is a gift of God and other Muslim singers inspire her to continue singing.
Assam Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal has assured the media that she is in contact with the singer and that proper security cover will be provided, if need be. Assam police is investigating whether the fatwa was in reaction to Nahid performing songs against terrorism and the Islamic State.
Should religion stand in the way of future of our youngsters, what do you think?