The Telegraph
Monday , October 15 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ssh! Let’s keep the volume low

- JAP gears up for symbolic weapon worship, capital organisers pledge quiet Durga Puja after samiti request

Cock an ear at what Durga Puja committees in the capital are promising this year: only hymns and religious music and decibels below deafening levels during the five-day festival.

The Ranchi Mahanagar Shri Durga Puja Samiti, which is an apex body, has strictly asked organisers to follow the 10pm to 6am no-loudspeaker rule and keep the leash on the noise demon. And, for a change, organisers are making the right sounds before the revelry begins. Some have also “vowed” to leave filmi numbers out of their playlists in response to a request from the samiti.

“We usually play only religious songs during the Puja. As far as the decibel level is concerned, we assure residents to keep it within limits,” said Sanjay Choudhary, a member of Bharatiya Nav Yuvak Sangh, which hosts the Durga Puja at Bakri Bazar.

Several other organisers across the city echoed Choudhary, promising to keep the volume low.

“We will certainly keep in mind that the volume of the music we play is within a permissible limit,” said Hemendra Singh, chief of the Satya Amarlok Durga Puja Committee, on Harmu Road.

President of the mahanagar samiti Krishna Yadav said: “Puja pandals have been told not to play music too loud. Also, they have been asked to use microphones only to announce missing cases and not to play music after 10 in the night. If anyone disobeys the orders, we will question them.”

Yadav, who also heads the RR Sporting Durga Puja Committee on Ratu Road, added that he would ensure his own people set an example.

The capital hosts 130-odd Pujas, including around 30 big-budget ones. But, when it comes to pumping up the decibels, they are first among equals.

Last year, many pandals around the city comfortably crossed the specified decibel levels (see box).

As it happens, most of the committees are smack in the middle of residential areas and are known to cross the prescribed limits of noise every year without fail. Besides losing sleep and arguably peace of mind, prolonged exposure to loud noise can lead to hearing impairment, hypertension and ischaemic (reduced blood supply) heart diseases.

“In a few days’ time, we will serve a public notice asking the committees not to play loud music. We will also take note of organisers who do not stick to norms and ask them to set things right in the coming years,” said subdivisional officer Amit Kumar.

He pointed out that the district administration could not legally bar the committees from playing Bollywood music. “So, we leave it to the discretion of the organisers,” he said.

Point taken. After all, the sacred-profane divide gets blurred when devotion meets revelry.