The highest temporal seat of Sikhs, Akal Takht has taken a very bold and commendable step. Akal Takht has asked all the Gurdwaras to reduce the volume of their loudspeakers in order to avoid disturbance among the neighbours. Akal Takht asked to make sure that during the daily katha and for kirtan rituals volume of the loudspeakers should not be high. Akal Takht has also made it clear that those whoever fail to comply with the directions would have to face strict religious punishment and supply of copies of the religious scriptures will also be stopped. Other religions should also learn something from this move of Akal Takht and they should also appeal to the managers of their places of worship to reduce the volume of the loudspeaker. It will not just reduce the noise pollution but also secure the safety and peace of mind of the peace-loving citizen of the country. It is much better to do it without the loudspeakers completely because the use of loudspeaker only leads to commotion. Prayers are offered in silence, basically it is a type of meditation and the sound of loudspeaker affects and diverts the attention and the concentration. It is impossible to focus on God in a deafening environment.
Apart from noise pollution there has been instances where it has been seen that the use of loudspeaker at places of worship has led to communal riots. Use of loudspeaker in places of worship provides fodder to political parties to do their appeasement politics. Some religious groups honk loudspeaker many times in a day to show their religious superiority. It is nothing but just a forced religiousness. They do not send any divine and spiritual message but declare that their god is supreme. The Akal Takht has set up a right example and other religions should follow it as well. They showed their good intentions of not disturbing people.
Sonu Nigam triggered nationwide debate when he tweeted sound of Azaan coming from nearby Mosque disturbs his sleep. During the case of Church of God (Full Gospel) in India vs. K.K.R. Majestic Colony Welfare Association, The Supreme Court said, “Undisputedly, no religion prescribes that prayers should be performed by disturbing the peace of others nor does it preach that they should be through voice amplifiers or beating of drums. In a civilized society in the name of religion, activities which disturb old or infirm persons, students or children having their sleep in the early hours or during daytime or other persons carrying on other activities cannot be permitted”. DY Chandrachud in his judgement on the privacy observed, “one’s house is like a castle to him. If loudspeakers are encroaching one’s right of spatial control (one’s home), one’s right to left alone, then what’s the meaning of fundamental rights? It will be just on paper. Hence to protect and uphold the fundamental rights of one’s “left alone”, “personhood (physical and mental peace), spatial control – Loudspeakers need to go“.
Loudspeakers disturbs people and it is illegal but no government before Yogi Adityanath launched any crackdown on loudspeakers. Only Yogi Adityanath showed the courage to put an end to the forced religiousness. This move by Akal Takht is commendable and other religions should also follow it.
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