Once upon a time:
“How about organizing a Jagaran?” My mother asked me.
“Why not? That’s a nice idea, mom. So, you mean, hiring a professional team, with lighting, and loudspeakers, and all that stuff, right?”
“Yes, of course! So let’s discuss the details in a day or two, OK?”
“Sure. Oh, one more thing: there’s a rule of “no loudspeakers post 10 pm”, so we need to take care of that too.”
“No loudspeakers after 10 pm? I don’t understand.”
“Well, mom, what it means is that the “performers” could sing on the loudspeakers till 10 pm only. Because you see, I won’t allow playing loudspeakers post that.”
“But, what’s the point of a Jagaran without the loudspeakers?” She protested.
“Well, the singers could continue their performance without the loudspeakers.”
And that was it.
It was a long, long time back, and she has never discussed Jagarans ever since (at least not with me).
Now, you see, I had no issue with the Jagaran and the songs. My only objection was that we would not let the loudspeakers play post 10 pm.
So, can I ask you a question?
What do you think a Jagaran is about?
Praising the Goddess? Or playing the loudspeakers?
Because there’s a hell of a difference between the two.
What Does “Religiousness” Have to Do With Loudspeakers?
I don’t know why, but most people (at least in the Northern part of India) consider:
“Being religious” and “Playing loudspeakers” as the same.
But are they?
Well, not exactly. In fact, they’re quite the opposite of each other.
You see, honoring “religious sentiments” is about being one with your favorite god or goddess. And it kind of goes without saying that it’s an intimate relationship of an individual with a higher power. So, basically, it’s a personal thing, and it is best kept that way.
Let me explain.
Would you make your personal relations public by giving the minutest details on a loudspeaker? Would you?
If not, then why torture people with deafening noise in the name of religious sentiments?
Loudspeakers, and Religious Sentiments, and the Police
Now let’s touch on a little about the attitude of the police in handling such “sensitive” issues.
You see, the logic here is:
The police can do nothing (about the menace of loudspeakers) unless people complain. And, of course, it sounds reasonable. How would the police know somebody is playing LOUDSPEAKERS unless they received a complaint?
But then how do they get to know the exact location when a house owner tries to add even a brick to his bathroom? And needless to say, the law-keepers promptly reach the “scene of the crime'” and ask to come to a mutual understanding.
(You know what a “mutual understanding” is, right?)
So, the question here is: Do the police use satellite surveillance to track “illegal” constructions? If yes, why that “satellite” is incapable of tracking loudspeakers?
Mind you. We call them loudspeakers for a reason: They are LOUD AS HELL!
By the way, I once had a word with a lady from a posh neighborhood regarding the same issue. And she revealed that no one ever complains to police about loudspeakers. Police officers come on their own and ask the organizers of Jagaran or any function whatsoever to discontinue the loudspeakers post 10 pm.
What does it mean?
Does it mean that the Police do take action with or without somebody complaining? And does it depends on where you live and if you have “contacts?”
And mind you, it’s not some remote area of Uttar Pradesh or Chhattisgarh we’re talking about. It’s the situation in Delhi, the capital of India.
Now, compare it to foreign countries, and there’s no match.
Isn’t it Time We Started Respecting Rules?
One of my friends once visited Denmark to attend a conference.
By the time the wheels touched down and she reached the host’s home, it was 5:30 am already.
Since the conference’s starting time was around 10:30 am, the host requested her to get some rest.
“Well, it’s 5:30 am already. The neighborhood is going to wake up anytime, and there shall be noise and sounds all around. I don’t think there’s much point in trying to get rest now. What do you say? She was curious.
“My dear, It’s not India. Nothing of that sort happens here. In fact, no noise is allowed before 8:30.” the host assured her. And so, she tried to get some sleep.
And guess what? 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 how people respect the rules.
Shame on us! Seriously.
And here, you cannot ask anybody to even “lower the volume,” let alone stopping the loudspeakers.
You know why? Because that hurts their “religious sentiments.”
Remember the Sonu Nigam incident? And the Karishma Bhosale one?
Of course, people cannot respect religious sentiments without BLASTING others’ ears!
The louder the loudspeakers, the more religious the people.
Is that it?
And it’s not about just one or two residential areas; it’s the story of many localities in Delhi. All people care about is “religious sentiments.” And all politicians care about is votes (by shamelessly supporting such people).
I mean, who cares for the common man?
Concern for People Or Loudspeakers—What Would You Choose?
Are you planning to organize a “Jagran” when your first child turns one?
Or maybe when your father gets retired after 35 years of service?
Can I ask you a simple question?
If someone would object to the use of loudspeakers post 10 pm, would that hurt your religious sentiments?
Or would you 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?