Hindi Features

How Suchitra’s Azaan Tweet Became A ‘Why Was She Up At 4 AM’ Issue

In 2017, two Bollywood celebrities tweeted about the noise pollution caused by the daily azaan (morning prayer) call from mosques. While the first one coolly walked out of the controversy that his tweet kicked off, the second one is facing questions about morality. For the former was a man, Sonu Nigam, and the latter, a female actor and singer, Suchitra Krishnamoorty.


On 23 July, Suchitra tweeted, “came (sic) home at 4.45 am 2 (to) most aggressive/ ear shattering call of azaan. Nothing more lowlife & dumb than such extreme imposed religiousity”.

Azaan, the Islamic call to prayer, is recited by an entrusted person through microphones installed at mosques, five times a day. 

Her criticism of the azaan, as well as her choice of words, did not go down well with a section of the Twitter community. Apart from calling her communal and describing her tweet as a cheap publicity stunt, some of the critics, including politicians, generously used the “woman card” to try to silence her. They focused on Suchitra’s mention of 4:45 am, and wondered why she was coming home so late.  

“Such type of cheap singers do this for publicity… She was partying till late in the night…”, said AIMIM MLA Waaris Pathan.

“These type of women love to dance with skimpy clothes… They drink (the) whole night and have made Indian culture a laughing stock… They should shut their mouth and stop dividing people,” said Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi. 

In April, singer Sonu Nigam too, had tweeted about the morning prayer. “God bless everyone. I’m not a Muslim, and I have to be woken up by Azaan in the morning. When will this forced religiousness end in India.” The actor also added that it was gundagardi (hooliganism). 

While his tweet did brew up a controversy, including a ‘fatwa’ issued by a member of the West Bengal Minority United Council, who announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh to anybody who would shave the singer’s head and garland him with old torn shoes, no questions were raised about Nigam’s daily routine, or his moral values. No one asked him if he partied till dawn, or tarnished Indian culture.

Subsequently, the singer outsmarted the fatwa issuers by appearing in a press meet and flaunting his shaven head, and asking for the money.

Slamming Azmi’s remarks, Suchitra said, “Abu Azmi holding a public office is a national shame.” Further, “Some people have problem with loud azaan, while some have [a problem with] loud bhajans… We should find a solution for it… I am not asking to stop it (azaan), but (that) the loud sounds be dealt with.”


Hinting at the possible line of attack that would soon be unleashed towards her, one Twitter user posted an amiable tongue-in-cheek warning, “Sunday #troll invite. Suggested line of attack – why do good girls come home so late?”

Suchitra responded with, “haha. No good girl template stamped here – happy to be naughty. Must speak my mind :-)”


This isn’t the first time that Suchitra has spoken up about the noise pollution caused by religious practices. In 2009, she had written a blog on the topic. “Noise is noise-whether it comes from prayer or party music bellowing out of loudspeakers. Wether it is the sound of hindu bhajans, christian hymns or muslim azaan, at 5 am the world is entitled to silence. There should be a time limit imposed on it that applies to all communities and sects. Religion is a private matter and should not spill on to the streets-if it does it should do so at civil hours say 8 am to 10 pm or something,” she said in the blog.


Abu Azmi’s sexist words shouldn’t come as a surprise, though. The 61-year-old politician, twice elected to represent Maharashtra in the state legislative assembly, has unabashedly revealed his misogynist side several times in the public. 

In 2014, he  said that in cases of rape, the woman survivors should be punished too. “If a woman is caught (in a rape case), then both she and the boy should be punished. In India, there is death penalty for rape, but when there’s consensual sex outside marriage, there’s no death penalty against women,” he said. His son, Farhan Azmi, a politician, and Farhan’s wife actress Ayesha Takia immediately distanced themselves from Azmi’s remarks.

In connection with the infamous mass molestation incident in Bangalore on the new year’s eve, Azmi had said, “In this modern age, the lesser clothes a woman is wearing, more modern she is considered. If my sister or daughter is roaming around on December 31 with random men who aren’t their husband or brother, I don’t think that’s right.”


Worse, it is not just Azmi who thinks that women who step out of their house at night are of questionable character.

In 2008, when a journalist, Soumya Vishwanathan, was shot and killed by anonymous assailants, Sheila Dixit, the then Delhi chief minister said, “All by herself till 3 am at night in a city.. you should not be so adventurous,” suggesting that the responsibility of Soumya’s death lay partly on herself. 

“Just because the country attained independence at midnight, is it proper for women moving at midnight? That particular woman [the Delhi rape victim] should have applied her mind before boarding the private bus. Anyway, it was a small incident,” said Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president Botsa Satyanarayana on the infamous Delhi gangrape incident of 2012.