The religion of noise

Peeved with the constant noise blaring from the loudspeakers in the kanvaria vehicles passing through the highway close to my home, dug out this old post from August 2005.

August 25, 2005: Loudspeaker with a swastikaThe night is yet to be over, the morning just on the coast. A banshee cry screeches through the silent dawn. Neither an Irish folklore nor an urban legend, but an invocation of the gods where we ordinary mortals are the collateral damage. The portly ageing priest of the neighbourhood temple unleashing his croaking vocals over the loudspeakers (only treble, no bass), followed by religious remixes of item numbers make any effort of early morning sleep an extremely difficult proposition.

Last Saturday the Hindu world celebrated the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna. Every lane in my locality in a show of one-upmanship made it a point to host individual celebrations. By midnight the area was one cacophonous cauldron. Even Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s lilting voice on the headphones could not come to my rescue.

Religion, as I understand, is a very personal affair – a relation between a mortal and the power supreme. Religious occasions act as social get-togethers and used to be solemn affairs. But now entertainment has adulterated it (like so many other aspects of our lives). This obscene display of religiosity gives religion a bad name.

There are laws in place restricting the decibels in public ceremonies. But religion is a force more potent than manmade laws; after all it is the votes in the name of religion that send the lawmakers to the legislatures.

Heaven, I hope, has excellent soundproofing.