By M. Burhanuddin Qasmi
The local Assamese media with unprofessional people in the realm and so-called mainstream national media with TRP race in minds have cooked a bundle of lie and made a mess out of Nahid Afrin issue. The young singer is simply used for TRP by media and to provide some on air space to the unpopular BJP Chief Minister of Assam.
Nahid Afrin has been singing for years, she was a popular Indian Idol contestant. If there has to be any Fatwa against her singing in particular that must have been earlier when she was roaming across Assam begging for online votings. That did not happen then and a Fatwa is not issued now.
What happened is that local community elders and ulama from Hojai district of Assam, where at Udali a ‘musical night’ is scheduled on 25th March 2017, have issued a printed appeal in Assamese language. They requested the common Muslims, specially young ones to stay away from such events where singing, dancing and wine is common. They informed the local people that their area is known for piety and moral goodness. The place decided for the night long concert is surrounded by a masjid, a madrasa, an eidgah and a graveyard. “Thus we earnestly request our youths to stay away from such events where wine and vulgar dance is common which are sins and ways of moral degradation”, their pamphlet reads.
Notably, the printed document does not carry any name, whatsoever, from singing fraternity, nor it extends its requests to people working in the music industry. It simply appeals it’s Muslim readership to shun sin and stay away from events of wine and dance.
Is it wrong? The generally invisible chief minister of Assam Mr. Sarbananda Sonowal was so quick to react on the issue that he took to media and recorded a “strong” bite saying “Govt. will ensure safety and security for Nahid and she should go for singing without fear…” as if there was a threat to her life. Follow up was a prime time news with all possible BIG and Breaking tags all across the national media!
To me the elders and ulama have practiced the same freedom of expressions and their democratic rights which we all consider dear to ourselves. They appealed in favour of their youth’s moral upbringing and social betterment; and put up a campaign against an event – ‘musical night’ show where wine and vulgar dance are common, according to them, which are, of course immorality in Islam, in the same way as the event organizers have been using their rights to campaign for their event and sell tickets to meet their business ends.
Media both national and local has played up the story out of context without even reading and understanding the Assamese language document. It made it a national and prime time story for the reason it better knows. The story is till on air with extra spices and “expert views” from infamous Islam and Muslim bashers. This story is sailing on air like the anti Muslim show “Fatah Ka Fatwa” on Zee News and some anchors are crying to their limits. Imported TV bizs from neighbouring Muslim majority countries – ‘Tasleemas’ and ‘Tareks’ are like running after their much awaited prey to score as “extra liberal” before their handlers in India.
However, thanks to NDTV, it has boldly and publicly accepted its mistake. The channel has expressed on air, “We are sorry for wrong reporting, we accept that we did not verify the Assamese pamphlet which is an appeal and not an official Fatwa… against Nahid Afrin”.
NDTV has proven its professionalism and demonstrated its journalistic ethics. To err is human but to accept is humanity.
Will Mr. Chief Minister come forward and accept that he has gone miles extra to show that he “cares for Muslim” and in the process committed a blunder? Will other media houses follow the way NDTV has walked on bravely? Isn’t it a responsibility on Nahid’s father to step out and clear the mud from Assamese Muslims, thrown on us by his daughter’s name?
Mr. M B.Qasmi is the Director of Markazul Maarif. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is fully responsible for the views expressed in the article.