When Vipul Shaha, a business student from Baramati—Pune, returned from his two months summer internship in UK in June 07, what struck him the most was the amount of noise and chaos on Indian roads. He found it amusing how vehicles in India carry messages like-- ‘HORN OK PLEASE’ ‘PLEASE BLOW HORN’.
A British architect and an author in the UK—Mr. Robin Redsull, who regularly visits India on various social projects, had already challenged Vipul to change this scenario--‘Next time I come to India, I don’t wish to wear earmuffs!’
Vipul decided to make a difference and cycled 120 kms. from Pune to Baramati--sporting a T-Shirt that read ‘Horn NOT OK Please’ to spread the message. He got together with a few of his friends from Initiatives of Change. A visit to various colleges in Baramati town was made and the message of Quiet India was communicated to nearly 3500 students. Anti-honking rally was held in Pune on October 2, 2007—inaugurated by the mayor of the city. Another rally followed on November 30, 2007 in Solapur. The campaign received extensive media coverage and an overwhelming response from all corners of the society. Recently, the Mumbai police has started re-enforcing the already existent law regarding unnecessary honking by heavily fining the offenders.
A study of rickshaw drivers in Pune had revealed that nearly 1/3rd of them suffer from a loss of hearing to some degree or other—owing to the dreadful noise that they have to put up with.
The idea behind Quiet India Campaign is simple—Promote silence before all you hear is only silence! The initiative goes beyond discouraging people from unnecessary honking. It calls for a quieter way of living. It appeals people to respect other’s space, to be a bit more patient and disciplined while driving their vehicles or for that matter—while doing anything they choose to do.
Not too long ago, Vipul’s father would keep asking his driver to honk all the time. But ever since Vipul has come up with this campaign, the honking has reduced by nearly 80%! All it takes is a change of mindset!
Quit India was a movement to drive out the imperialists from our country. Quiet India is a campaign for driving out the noise and chaos from our minds and streets, which should be a lot easier.
- No other country needs or suffers such noise pollution in its cities or villages.
- Noise not only causes irritation or annoyance but also constricts the arteries, and increases the flow of adrenaline and forces the heart to work faster.
- Continuous noise causes an increase in the cholesterol level resulting in permanent constriction of blood vessels, making one prone to heart attacks and strokes.
- Health experts are of the opinion that excessive noise can also lead to neurosis and nervous breakdown.
- Aggressive and habitual horn use DOES NOT limit accidents OR improve driving standards.
- HORN OK invites hazardous driving, It does not invite courtesy and common sense.
- Noise pollution and its control is central to our well being.
- Minimum use of horn will allow drivers to concentrate on driving—defensive driving, rather than unnecessary horn use and offensive driving.
How can you contribute for a Quieter India?
- Start with yourself. Experience the joy of driving without making noise.
- Print stickers, T-Shirts, cartoon strips, caps or any other merchandise that will make this message reach more and more people.
- Hold rallies in your community.
- Write about this issue in your local newspapers.
- Spread the word among your network of friends and challenge them to stand up for a Quieter India!
- Donate funds for future initiatives.