Monday, July 30, 2007

Quiet India Movement

On 29 July, Members of Youth Wing- Initiatives of Change had a meeting in Pune, as a product of this meeting is the following:



Sound check

Vipul Shaha spearheads the message of silence on Indian roads through the Quiet India Movement that believes in the motto — Horn Not Ok Please

Anuradha Mane

Sixty-five years ago, when India came alive with the Quit India Movement, Indians were fighting against the British. But this enterprising student who visited Britain during a summer internship, came back with the idea of a movement against our own selves—the Quiet India Movement.

For Vipul Shaha, a final year student of business administration at Symbiosis, the absence of honking on the roads was an inspiration to have the same silence on Indian roads. “Excessive honking on the roads prevails across India but I wanted to focus on Pune to begin with. Abroad, honking is a sign of rudeness and impatience. When we honk at traffic signals, it doesn’t really move the traffic forward. In fact, people have now become desensitised to honking,” he says.

So, he got together with some friends and even came up with a slogan for the movement — Horn Not OK Please . Coincidentally for Shaha, an opportunity to spread the good word immediately came up in the form of the Pune-Baramati cycle rally recently organised by the Cycling Association of Maharashtra. “I sported a t-shirt with our slogan and cycled 120 kilometres hoping that people would notice the campaign and be part of it,” says Shaha, who himself has been using a bicycle to commute in the city since the last five years.

Their current group consists of ten members who come from different backgrounds such as the IT industry, law and academics.

And the first major effort already got underway last week when the group went to Baramati (where Shaha hails from) and visited a dozen schools and spoke to 2,500 students about this campaign. “Schools, colleges and corporates are the best targets because we have seen that excessive honking has become a display of ‘cool’ attitude among young drivers,” says Chetas Desai, a BPO employee who feels that Pune’s status as a young city makes it imperative to reach out to the youngsters.

While for Shrikant Shelat, a software engineer, the campaign is his way of giving back to society. “Sound pollution is a major problem, but it somehow never comes up in a conspicuous way. For me, addressing this issue was important. In fact, honking is a chain where if the person behind you honks too much, you honk at the person in front of you and it goes on. Imagine all the unnecessary sound pollution,” says Shelat.

And while they are hoping more and more youngsters would join the Quiet India Campaign, they also have a plan chalked out. “Firstly, we’re planning to hold talk shows on the radio and have some experts talk about the hazards of honking. Apart from that, we’re also going to approach the PMC and the RTO to help us in spreading the message,” says Shaha. More ambitious plans include observing a Quiet Pune Day where citizens will be urged to keep their hands off the horns for the day-but that’s once they mobilise enough members.

“During the Quit India Movement, we were fighting an outside enemy. But here, we have to fight the enemy within, which should be a lot more easier,” smiles Shaha.


shruti said...

A very good initiative .. if each of us associate ourselves with just one initiative world can improve by manifolds ... Silence they say is golden ..we need to visit our roots and understand the truths in these simple saying . Noise creates disharmony at so many levels and affects our mentl state also and hence all unnecessary noise pollution needs to be avoided at all cost .

ranjite said...

Really happy to see such an initiative taken on the menace of honking..I would like to carry on this initiative in the city of bangalore too..i would like to contact you regarding this..