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Monday, September 7, 2009

Is there a connection between noise and celebrations ?

Once again I am going to talk in this post with special reference to our (Indian) culture in the present times and the "mistakes" that we make as a group. I am attempting to look in the minds of my fellow brothers and sisters ands understand the reasons for some of our peculiar behaviors.

The behavior of which I am making note here today is that, we tend to celebrate (it may be any celebration) with a lot of noise. We have a whole lot festivals in a year... the most recent one was Ganesh Chaturthi" (Since I am in Mumbai therefore bigger celebrations for this festival). Like every year. There were visarjanas taking place on various days during this 10 day festival. There would be long Ques on the road with different mandals taking Ganpati for immersion and almost all of them bring a band along with them on the way to the immersion site. Not one, not two but multiple bands are playing at the same time… ending up in nothing but a cacophony!! These bands anyways do not play any meaningful music. It is really very sad that for different reasons, not one of them which are likely to be practical and factual, we behave in ways which are less civilized!

We are in society, and every society has some more vulnerable people like the old , pregnant women, people with hypertension or any other disease which makes them highly sensitive to noise, poor animals on the streets and in the homes (The hearing capability of most animals like cats and dogs is many many times more than us which makes them HIGHLY vulnerable to deafness or madness because of noise pollution during Diwali and other festivals).

I totally fail to understand HOW can be so insensitive towards the needs of those who reside alongside us and still call our self educated and civilized!! It is noteworthy that, in the modern world that man has created for himself, there are already enough sources of noise which are invariably harming the environment (therefore harming us). But many of these are factors are less controllable. The topic that I am dealing with here is the kind of noise pollution that can be totally avoided !! So are we trying enough to stop or avoid the harm that we can?

I thought about some probable reasons, why we as a community make our celebrations noisy:

  1. Our thought process is such that, if we do not make noise (which many people call music) there is a subtle fear that we will be interpreted as "less happy".
  2. We have never thought about other, more peaceful ways of celebrating.
  3. Today when the world has started getting more aware about climate change and how we humans are causing it, we as a national community seem to be totally ignorant about it.
  4. "Sensitivity towards the needs of others" has gone somewhere at the bottom in the list of our value systems, (and selfishness seems to have come up?) such that we really do not care as to how much we are harming others by some of our actions.
  5. Probably some people might even be scared that if celebrations are not done in this particular way, the Gods may not be happy about it and subsequently we might get punished !! J
  6. This way of marking and announcing our celebrations has now become a norm and to change this norm is becoming difficult for us.

Any opinions in this matter, specially by those who have experienced this factor? Comments are welcome and will be appreciated J

Just as I was writing this article, I realized that there was an NGO in Mumbai city -"" working towards this cause. This is what they have to say about this issue.

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  1. It is a cultural thing, Niharika. It would take universal education combined with generations to change the behavior.

  2. Very interesting. I would never have thought of this but what you say makes perfect sense. Nice blog!

  3. @Shyam Sunder, thank you for your honest comment here :)

    But haven't many generations already passed, and may be its time now that at least the youth of this country (specially the urban youth who are more educated and are supposed to be more aware) show some decency in their behavior ?

    Well, I think the youth in big cities like Mumbai are well in a position to show signs of "sensitivity" for others around them.I think, they have just not thought many issues surrounding us today.

  4. It's really a great problem. I just going to witness after 10 days as people will celebrate Durga Puja just near my home.

    Well, it is very difficult to convince people. as they are so camouflaged themselves in a religious cover that they hardly notice or hear other's problem.
    u know, how many so called religious people in our contry are...

  5. yes Amit..We need to be role models for others I guess and specially for the children.Besides this there are other people who are taking the legal way out to problems like this.

    Hope it will surely help by the time today's children grow up !! :)

    And thank you ... :)

  6. This really is an excellent post from your side. I learned a lot. Yes, we need to change ourselves. Instead of such noisy celebrations, we need to come up with more peaceful ways of celebrations. We need to care for others rather than being selfish.

  7. I think it is okay to let loose every now and then. There are times we like it quiet; then there are times we want to express ourselves without thinking of any restrictions. The celebration are even more noisy in the western countries if you have seen the sports fans; the rock music fans... A balanced cultures should have everything - civility, understanding, and freedom to scream if we feel like, and tolerance to let others scream if the feel like :) !
    The Indians abroad

  8. Thank you for your precious and honest comment :)

    But, here this expression of happiness can be life threating or may be it can pose other serious health risks to many (as I mentioned in my post) !!

    Can I expect someone to tolerate my behavior when that person (or animal) is facing severe health hazards because of that behavior ?

    May be, I can always find a middle way...

  9. Very much my concern always. Why, Diwali is around the corner...expect noise and air pollution from all the crackers.
    Its an irony that our culture, traditions, vedas...all teach us about worshipping rivers, and yet we dont hesitate to put in a hundred chemicals that we paint the Lord Ganesha in or Durga mata in.I believe earlier the murtis were made only from clay and rightfully belonged to the river again.

    I think its a change each family can make, we would have protests and strikes if the government made rules!

  10. I agree with you with, but that's how it is. Also, I agree with "The Indians Abroad" comment to some extent.

    let me give u an example:
    In my town other religion people are allowed to use loud speakers but not Hindus. I think some where in November, devotees (Ayyappa, Sabarimalai) are doing puja with loud music. In that street a non-hindu person called police. Police came asked ayyappa's to stop or do it quietly.
    One person asked the police "Why they are allowed use loud speakers everyday, 3-4 times??".
    Our politicians say, because they are minorities etc etc.. that's another story.

    I personally don't like loud music. But now a days everybody like it, even youth. In parties, pubs etc etc.

    Lot of things has to change...

  11. @Anji: Hi Anji ! thanks a lot for reading the post and commenting on it here :)

    I agree with you that any rule should be applied equally to everyone.


Thank you for choosing to comment :)