It is a matter of attitude and of mutual understanding. That is what M. Susaipakiam, Archbishop of the Thiruvananthapuram Archdiocese of the Catholic Church, has to say about the rampant sound pollution in and around the city.
The archdiocese set an example last year when it asked its laity to use loudspeakers sparingly, only during church festivals and on special occasions such as Christmas and Easter, with the sound not travelling outside the church premises.
A year later, the Archbishop says the Church is in the process of creating awareness among its flock, with many already falling in line and bringing down the use of loudspeakers. However, there is still a long way to go and the awareness campaign will continue.
He feels that there should be a thought spared for students and patients in hospitals when using loudspeakers. It requires mutual understanding from all sides.
“We should not use sound to assert supremacy,” he says. But some occasions require the use of loudspeakers. For instance, announcements, crowd control and so on during festivals that draw large crowds. Religious institutions can use loudspeakers to give signs or prayer calls, but continuous use of the same, blaring songs at high-decibel levels, is not advisable for a society looking to live in harmony.
Political parties, he says, has to think about the public, since the public will have to put up with the rallies, announcements and slogans of not just one party but all of them. The Bishop’s House is one place that bears the brunt of loud protests, with the road to the Raj Bhavan usually being the venue for many protests and meetings.
“I am now accustomed to it and sometimes, silence feels strange to me,” he adds on a lighter note, but indicating the levels sound pollution have reached even in areas that were once serene.