Religion is supposed to be a private thing, a path on which you walk alone to find yourself. By making it a community affair, religious places often create disturbance for people who are going about their business. Rather than strengthening one's relationship with self, religion, today, has crassly turned outwards. More than bringing peace to people's life modern form of religions are creating more pollution in our already over-polluted country by using loudspeakers in religious processions, bursting firecrackers etc.
But to criticize a religious practice is India, no matter how inconvenient it is for the rest of the world, is never well-received. But breaking the trend is a Gurudwara in Ullahsnagar near Mumbai. The Amritvela Gurudwara has been holding satsangs over bluetooth headphones for more than two years now so that they do not add to city's noise pollution charts. How amazing is that?
“Earlier, we used to conduct the satsang over loudspeakers,” says Hoshiar Singh Labana of the Amritvela Pariwar, “This would disturb the residents, as the locality is densly populated. So we introduced headphones and now people come to see this novel practice. We also use instruments that make a softer sound.”
For the past two years, they have been distributing bluetooth headphones so that devotees are free to move around, and yet absorb the Gurbani and sermons.
Another initiative to curb noise pollution by a Delhi gurudwara.
Devotees also welcome the innovation. “We enjoy the same experience we would get through a loudspeaker. We are happy with the use of technology,” a disciple says. “The effort has helped notably in reducing noise pollution and its definitely an example to others,” says another devotee.
The municipal corporation of Ulhasnagar had suggested the Sikh community to distribute around 10,000 earphones to its devotees. Mumbai High Court has praised the corporation's effort and the community's support for this social initiative.
Sometime back Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam had tweeted against the use of loudspeakers by mosques for azaan calling it a forced religiosity, fetching him hate and threats. But he stood his ground and extended his comment to all religions. A few other B-town personalities like Javed Akhtar and Suchitra came out in support voicing similar thoughts.
It is vital to understand the need of cutting down pollution in this modern world. And religion being the biggest influencer on people can help shape this as a people's movement. People are free to follow their religion but in harmony with others and their comfort. We look forward to the day when all religious places adopt new methods and focus on the journey that is inward.
#Ullahsnagar #Amritvela #Gurudwara #noisepollution