There are several ways and mediums of expressing the faith in the Almighty. Temples are also one of these mediums. Several events are organized at temples for mass expression of faith. Such a religious event – Satsang – was held at the temple near my home for ten days. The organizers of this satsang were utilizing the power of loudspeaker to the maximum. The session timings were 8 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 10 pm. Though the timings were within the norms, the decibel level of the loudspeaker was not. The norms say :-
1. The noise level at the boundary of the public place, where loudspeaker or public address system or any other noise source is being used shall not exceed 10 dB(A) above the ambient noise standards for the area or 75 dB(A) whichever is lower.
2. No one shall beat a drum or tom-tom or blow a trumpet or beat or sound any instrument or use any sound amplifier at night between 10. 00 p.m. and 6.a.m.) except in public emergencies.
3. The peripheral noise level of privately owned sound system shall not exceed by more than 5 dB(A) than the ambient air quality standard specified for the area in which it is used, at the boundary of the private place.
Now I am not an atheist but I am not a very religious person either. And above all I believe in live and let live. I don’t force anyone to agree with my beliefs and practices and I expect the same from others. So being made to listen to bhajans (hymns) at a volume level where I am unable to hear even the voices in my head [ using just an expression don’t worry 🙂 ] doesn’t go down too well with me. I feel the whole point of offering prayers and singing bhajans goes to waste that way because all the Hindu gods must have stuffed cotton wool in their ears. I believe the most sincere prayers and praise are not the ones that are spoken out loudly. Maybe holding satsang sessions has some benefit but my point is that if I wanted to listen then I would have gone to the temple!! I guess same goes for other people living in the neighborhood. By putting up blaring loudspeakers and having absolutely bad singers (you have to hear it to believe how bad can one sing!) who sing bhajans to the tunes of Hindi film songs like “Mere angne me tumhara kya kaam hai” (I recorded it. To listen download from here) ; you are making people like me feel pain and anger rather than invoking any religious sentiments. In fact my mom started to have anxiety and palpitations due to the loud noise.
Decibel levels of common sounds
dB Environmental Condition 0 Threshold of hearing 10 Rustle of leaves 20 Broadcasting studio 30 Bedroom at night 40 Library 50 Quiet office 60 Conversational speech (at 1m) 70 Average radio 74 Light traffic noise 90 Subway train 100 Symphony orchestra 110 Rock band 120 Aircraft takeoff 146 Threshold of pain
The most direct harmful effect of excessive noise is physical damage to the ear and the temporary or permanent hearing loss often called a ‘temporary threshold shift’ (TIS). In Maharashtra, people living in close vicinity of Ganesh mandals that play blaring music for ten days of the Ganesh festival are usually known to suffer from this phenomenon. Noise can also cause emotional or psychological effects such as irritability, anxiety and stress. Lack of concentration and mental fatigue are significant health effects of noise. It has been observed that the performance of school children is poor in comprehension tasks when schools are situated in busy areas of a city and suffer from noise pollution.
I wanted to go and protest but my mother stopped me citing the reason “we have to live in the neighborhood”. Earlier religious songs used to be played from 6 am till evening at that temple. When my dad protested, the priest and other people present there behaved as if he had committed a great sin by asking them to not play songs loudly. I really fail to understand what sort of worship is this? But yes, the next time this happens I am not going to sit quietly and suffer.
Now something unrelated to the topic yet somehow related. Nita had written a post on Hindutva and I had commented “Right now I am feeling not so happy at being a Hindu. The temple near my home has organized some satsang since one week and rest I will express on my next post at my blog.”
A blogger misconstrued my comment as some Hindu Muslim thing and wrote on his blog :- “some of my friends are ashamed of being a Hindu just because a temple near their place is having a Sat Sang Session and is chanting prayers/bhajans from loudspeaker .. They think that it’s a noise pollution .. But the same bunch feels very holy and pious when Muslims offer their Namaz five times a day – everyday on loud speakers in every mosque all over India stating that ‘There is no GOD except Allah!!”
The blogger gave me the logic that as a blogger he has freedom of speech and that – “in your comment on Nita’s post, u only mentioned about Mandir .. U never spoke anything against mosque which use loud speakers every day .. that’s the reason I wrote that thing .. It was just my perception and not an allegation”
There can be more people who misconstrue my post too as something I have written against Hinduism and Hindus and may label me with the new term they have coined – “pseudosecularist”. So I want to make few things clear about my comment and my post.
1. I did not write I am “ashamed”. You can go and check what I had written in my comment. I had written I am not happy..and not happy because when I want to protest then people with ideologies like the blogger try to show this logic and make me feel as if its wrong to protest against anything remotely related to Hinduism if one wants to be called a true Hindu.
2. I don’t appreciate any sort of loudspeaker use be it on temple or mosque. I dont support loudspeaker..thats it..nothing to do with Hindu or Muslim.
3. If you are pointing at me then why and how can you say “they have no objection to namaz five times a day etc etc etc” without even knowing my opinion on loudspeakers on mosques? How can you say I feel very holy and pious listening to namaz?? Freedom of speech is ok but that doesn’t mean one can go writing or saying or concluding anything about someone without knowing their beliefs. And due to the same freedom of speech I am clearing my stand in my post.
4. I only mentioned Mandir in my comment on Nita’s post because firstly I was being bugged by loudspeakers on a temple not a mosque incidentally and secondly I don’t have a mosque near my home.
5. Please stop seeing everything through the glasses covered with colors of Hindu- Muslim issues, “pseudosecularism” and stop “perceiving” slightest remark against anything related to Hinduism as “anti Hindu pro Muslim”.
6. If I have to support everything that is done in the name of Hindu religion (in this case having loud irritating satsang sessions) to prove myself to be a true Hindu and not call a spade a spade (in this case noise pollution), then I am better off not being a Hindu. So there.
Related posts and links :-
Proof by Apar
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