If there is something that irritates people more than the traffic on the roads, then it is the incessant honking. Even when roads are choc-a-bloc with traffic, people tend to honk, perhaps thinking it will make the cars ahead go faster. Of course, it does nothing except add to the noise pollution in the city. In fact, there have been several instances where people have gone on honking even while driving through roads that have clearly been marked as ‘No Honking’ zones. However, there are always exceptions that stand out, and in this case, it is Kolkata-based driver Dipak Das. Das, who has not used the horn for 18 long years, has won the Manush Sanman award. He hopes that one day, Kolkata will become a “no honking city”. Also Read - High Noise Can Lead to Cancer-Related Damage And Blood Pressure Issues, Read on
Das’ dedication towards the no-horn policy has been authenticated by several eminent personalities in India, including tabla maestro, Pandit Tanmoy Bose and guitarist Kunal. They have hired Das as a driver from time to time and have appreciated his efforts to reduce noise pollution, reports Hindustan Times. Das’ rare and commendable feat has been verified by the organisers of the Manush Mela, which is giving him the award. In these 18 years, Das has driven not only within the city, but also to Darjeeling and Sikkim. Even on these long trips, he maintains his no-honking policy. His car reportedly carries a placard with the words ‘Horn is a concept. I care for your heart’. Also Read - Ahead of State Board Exams, UP Police Launches 'Anti-Noise' Helpline for Students
The main motto for Das is to inspire more people to take up the no-honking policy. He has been quoted saying, “I think if a driver follows this no-horn policy, he will become more alert while driving. If a driver has a proper sense of space, speed and timing, he or she need not use the horn.” He adds that when passengers ask him to use the horn, he politely tells them that it won’t solve the problem. He also believes that making Kolkata a ‘no-honking’ city is not too difficult. What is required is just administrative and political goodwill. Also Read - How to Keep Your Ears in Good Shape
Prior to Das, Biva Upadhaya was the recipient of this award. Despite her financial constraints, Biva took up the mission of rescuing and rehabilitating stray animals, and that won her the award. A Hindustan Times article quotes Sudipa Sarkar, one of the organisers of Manush Mela 2017, saying that Das was the natural choice for the award this year because individuals and organisations who hired Das have appreciated his effort. While the effects of air pollution are easily visible, noise pollution is not visible to the naked eye. Yet, its effects are equally harmful. Several NGOs and social service organizations have taken up the task of reducing noise pollution in the country. If we have more citizens like Dipak Das, then the road ahead doesn’t seem too difficult.