MUMBAI: Wading into the ongoing debate over playing the national anthem in public places, Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam on Thursday said while he honoured every country’s anthem, he also believed theatres and restaurants were not the place for it.
Sonu at the Manthan Aaj Tak conclave said the national anthem of any country should be respected and be given the same honour that people bestow on their own anthem. He stressed that he would stand up for the anthem of Pakistan or of any country.
“If the national anthem of Pakistan is played and all Pakistanis are standing, I will also stand out of respect for that country and those people,” he said.
“There are some people who are saying the national anthem should be there (in cinema halls), some say it should not be there. The national anthem is a prestigious and sensitive thing and I think it should not be played in certain places– in movie theatres or restaurants,” he said.
On Monday, the Supreme court directed the Centre to decide on the playing of the anthem in public places, including cinema halls.
The playback singer also talked about the azaan controversy and his Twitter episode.
“The issue of loudspeaker was in my office. But when I raised my voice against it, they fit one near my house also as a way to protest. It’s the right of every citizen to raise their voice against anything wrong and not tolerate it,” Sonu.
“In the azaan incident, religion was also added. In India, people don’t try to understand the meaning of words and try to look into it deeply. In the same post, I had mentioned temple, Gurudwara, but the only thing highlighted was azaan,” he added.
Sonu had found himself in the eye of a Twitter storm earlier this year, for his comments against the use of loudspeakers in religious places. He had expressed his annoyance over being woken up by azaan every morning.
The singer said his tweet was just not about ‘azaan’, but temples, too, as he was against the use of amplifiers in shrines.
“I am an atheist. I worship everyone as I see God in everyone. I am not a fanatic, I do not belong to any religion. Suddenly, I saw some people, who know me since quite some time not standing by me.
“But at the same time, I got a lot of support. Lot of people tell me I raised the issue in a good way, without abusing anyone.”
The singer, who quit Twitter after the controversy, said he is not even on WhatsApp since celebrities easily land in trouble for their comments, while others are allowed to use abusive language on the social media.
With agencies inputs