My mother once asked me:
“How about organizing a ‘Jagaran?'” (a musical-night honoring Goddess Durga).
“Well, that’s a nice idea, but I shall disconnect the loudspeakers as soon as the clock hits ten since speakers are not allowed post 10 pm. The musical group can sing the ‘Bhajans’ and ‘Bhents’ the whole night but without loudspeakers.”
“What’s the point of a Jagaran without loudspeakers?” She protested.
That was a long time back, and since then, she has never discussed Jagarans (at least not with me).
What’s a Jagaran about:
Loudspeakers Or The Goddess?
You see, I didn’t object to the ‘Bhajans’, I only objected to the usage of loudspeakers after 10 pm, and there’s a difference between the two.
What Do Loudspeakers Have to Do With ‘Religiousness?’
Most people assume that playing loudspeakers and worshipping is the same thing.
They are not.
In fact, they’re opposite to each other.
Honoring religious sentiments is about being one with your favorite god or goddess. It’s an intimate relationship with a higher power.
It’s a personal thing, and best kept that way.
You don’t make personal things public by announcing them on a loudspeaker, right?
Then why torture people with deafening noise in the name of religious sentiments?
Loudspeakers And Religious Sentiments. And Police
Now let’s talk a little about the police’s attitude in handling such ‘delicate’ issues.
The logic is: the police can do nothing about the menace of loudspeakers unless people complain. And it sounds reasonable. How would the police know somebody is playing loudspeakers unless they received a complaint?
But then how the police get to know the exact location when a house owner tries to add even a brick to his bathroom?
The ‘law-keepers’ reach the ‘scene of the crime’ promptly and ask the house owner to come to a ‘mutual understanding.’
Does the police has satellite surveillance in action to track ‘illegal’ constructions? If yes, then what stops it from keeping track of loudspeakers, or is the satellite yet not capable of tracking down such cases?
I once had a word with a lady from a posh neighborhood, who revealed that no one complains to police about loudspeakers in their locality. Police officers come on their own and ask the organizers of ‘Jagaran’ or any such religious function to stop the loudspeakers (after 10 pm).
I guess that’s the advantage of living in a privileged colony.
So, the argument that the Police do not take action unless someone complains about the loudspeakers holds little to no ground. It depends on where you live (and how ‘well connected’ you are).
And it’s not some remote area of Uttar Pradesh or Chhattisgarh we’re talking about, mind you. It’s the situation in Delhi, the capital of India.
Compare this to the situation in foreign countries, and you shall find an unbelievable contrast.
Isn’t it Time We Started Respecting Rules?
A friend of mine had visited Denmark to attend a conference. They reached around 5:30 am.
Since the starting time of the conference was around 10:30 am, the host requested them to get some rest.
“It’s 5:30 am already. The neighborhood is about to wake up anytime; there shall be noise all around. What’s the point of getting rest now?” My friend was curious.
“This is not India. No such thing happens here. No noise is allowed before 8:30.”
So, she tried to get some sleep.
She woke up around 8:40 due to the sound of a mixer-grinder from a neighboring house. Before that, the neighborhood was peaceful like anything. That’s the level of people’s willingness to respect the rules.
And, in India, you cannot even ask a temple or a mosque to stop playing loudspeakers because that might hurt their ‘religious sentiments.’ Remember the Sonu Nigam incident?
And the Karishma Bhosale one?
Of course, you cannot respect religious sentiments without blasting people’s ears: the louder the loudspeakers, the more religious the people.
And it’s not about just one or two residential areas; it’s the story of many localities in Delhi. All that people care about is so-called religious sentiments. And all that politicians care about is how many votes can they gather.
Who cares for the common man?
Loudspeakers Or Religious Sentiments? What Would You Choose?
Are you also planning to organize a ‘Jagran’ when your first child turns one, or when your father gets retired after 35 years of service?
If someone objects to the loudspeakers, will that hurt your religious sentiments?
Would you not understand that he’s just trying to get some sleep because he needs to be in the office at 9:15 am sharp the next morning?