Festive seasons in India are filled with joy and merrymaking. But is this necessarily a time of celebration for everyone? This is a counter view that a group of youngsters wants to present to the world. MUSE, a Thane-based community founded by Nishant Bangera, aims to create awareness about those aspects of society that are not known and spoken about. MUSE comprises roughly 20 members, and it started the ‘Voice against Noise’ campaign last year. Aditya Dakhore, a 21-year-old member of MUSE and animal rescuer, came up with this campaign when he noticed his pets in distress due to the noise of dhols and DJs that played during festivals. “After doing some research about this issue, I realised its seriousness and the amount of harm it causes to humans and animals, too. There was a law passed in 1986, which stated that noise levels shouldn’t exceed 50 decibels in a silent zone. At the time, I was a BMM student making a film about Ganesh Chaturthi. I observed that the noise levels would reach as high as 150-200 decibels depending on how small or grand the Ganpati pandal is.”
Nishant tells us how they started this campaign last year in four to five areas of Thane, and how they wish to continue with the same fervour this year on all visarjan days, albeit with better planning, prior approval, and consultations with the police and activists. “When Aditya brought this issue to light and said that we should create a campaign, we decided to go ahead with it and stand outside maternity homes with placards to make people aware about the effects of noise pollution.”
Upon asking Nishant about the consequences that this campaign created, he says, “The impact was good, and a lot of people would actually stop outside these hospitals and cease to play drums or music. This motivated us to believe that we were on the right path. But yes, at two places we did face problems. My placard had been snatched from my hand and burnt in front of 200 people, and in another incident outside a Srinagar hospital, a member of one political party mandal slapped one of my team members. They claimed that we are Muslims, because we sported beards.” In spite of all this, MUSE did not stop their campaign. They also decided that they should not resort to violence.
“A couple of days ago, when we were putting up posters outside idol shops, we came across a band who seemed to be practicing and a man who looked like he was accompanying them. We asked the man to stop the band from creating noise, since there was a maternity home close by. To our surprise, he was there for the very same reason. He explained to us that the noise was disturbing his pregnant wife, and how it could directly affecting the foetus,” recounts Nishant. He is of the opinion that not everyone can stand for themselves, and this is why MUSE aims to become their voice.
Technology has helped MUSE to a great extent; they use an app which can read the decibel levels of noise created in areas where the music and sounds are known to be loud. MUSE consulted a specialist, Dr. Mahesh Bedekar, who is also responsible for filing a PIL regarding noise pollution in the Bombay High Court. He has similar views about this issue and has agreed to help the club. He will be reading the decibel levels personally, and will file a report about his observations to create awareness for the authorities.
Nishant wishes to increase the reach and scope of this good cause. Those who would like to volunteer for this campaign can contact him on 9833500987.