“We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of the silence. See how nature— trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…We need silence to be able to touch souls.” ~Mother Teresa
n the Indian city of Thane, a lawsuit was filed in August 2011 seeking to require the city to enforce noise ordinances against those celebrating Hindu religious festivals. This public interest lawsuit was filed by activist Dr. Mahesh Bedekar, who faced fierce opposition from political parties for dampening the festive spirit. As a result, the Bombay High Court ordered the state to convene a meeting with the festival representatives to see if the festivals could be celebrated with less noise the next year.1 Time and again, people have objected to the noise caused by religious festivities, and each time the courts have ordered meetings to prevent it the “next time.” Is there no end to this circle of complaints and meetings? Is piety really not possible without noise pollution?
Noise, with roots from the Latin word nauseas,2 is unwanted sound produced by natural or anthropogenic sources. The natural environment contains many sources of noise– wind, volcanoes, oceans, and animal sounds are all familiar intrusions accepted at various levels. 3 Man-made noises from machines, automobiles, trains, planes, explosives, loudspeakers, firecrackers, etc. are more contentious.4 Noise
The journal of the University of Oregon Environmental Studies Program