It was the month of August, back in the year 2018, when I moved into our new house with my family in Mohali district of Punjab. We were super excited since this was the first house we ever bought after living on rent throughout our lives. Things were going great, as we set up our bedrooms during the day and got into our blankets for a much required comfy sleep.
After I vanished behind my closed eyes, I heard a loud and piercing sound coming from multiple loudspeakers, but had no idea what it was. I checked the clock, and it was 3:30 am, and the disturbance continued till 5:30 am. I thought that it might be some one-day event, but the thing kept happening for days, and then weeks.
Finally, I inquired and discovered that there was a gurudwara, situated roughly at around 400 meters from our house, and the disturbance was coming from there. I was dead sure that this would never end, hence instead of hoping I should take some action.
Since that was a place a prayer, apparently, so I made a visit to the gurudwara and made a humble request to stop using loudspeakers at odd hours. Instead of solving my problem, the gurudwara guys simply said, “This will never end, you should shift your house from this place. That is the only solution I have.” I was absolutely shocked to see how this so-called god-men, or goddamn men, are so inconsiderate and selfish, who just want to create a nuisance in the name of worship. Because it is literally impossible for the literate working class to live in such conditions, so I opted for another option.
I contacted the Akal Takht, which is the governing body of the gurudwaras. They informed me that they have already instructed gurudwaras to stop using loudspeakers, and even sent me a written order of the same. I took that document and showed it to the gurudwara committee, but I believe they just want to disturb people, and are willing to break their own rules for their so-called prayers. They are hardcore devotees, not of god, but loudspeakers.
I received no assistance from the gurudwara, so had no option but to opt for legal action. After much research, I found out that loudspeakers are banned by the high court, particularly for religious places, hence submitted a written complaint to the local police station. Guess what, the police force seemed more like protectors of religion than law and took no action against this act. Nonetheless, they gave me a mobile number, asked me to call on that number when I heard that loud noise and they would initiate action.
Every morning, I would be woken up by those so-called prayers, and as instructed, I used to call on that number and sat helplessly hoping for action, but nothing used to happen. Shockingly, after a few days, the concerned police personnel stop attending my calls.
There are even days when the gurudwara starts shouting at 3:30 am and continues the same practice for the entire day. If not the entire day, then the same act is repeated during evenings daily, when people come exhausted from their offices and are relaxing at home.
Dejected, I started sending complaints to the district magistrate, but that was too of no avail. Since their so-called action team used to visit the gurudwara, just to request the management to bring down the volume instead of taking strong action. I guess they even took blessings from those so-called goddamn men. Done and over with the useless legal system, I approached the pollution control board of Punjab but got no response from their end as well.
Now we are in 2021, I’m still facing the same problem, which has completely ruined my life. This act has completely ruined my sleep patterns, and I’m unable to maintain my focus at work. The worse part is that I have started getting anxiety attacks and feel as if that loud noise is constantly circulating in my body. I have no words to explain how sick, and helpless this entire thing makes me feel.
The gurudwara is not only violating its own rules, but also the high court, human rights, noise pollution rules, and the world knows the ill effects of noise pollution on human health. Which includes psychological problems, insomnia, hypertension, lower immunity. Are these people devoted to god, or are just devoted to ruining people’s lives and health? What form of prayer is this? There is no point in offering free food to 100 people and destroying the lives of thousands. This isn’t a selfless service, but pure pride and religious obsession. Religion is going to eat up India if it is not understood as a science, and if people don’t stand up against such practices.
The so-called “progressive Punjab” slogan of the government is absolutely futile, who believe that constructing high rise buildings is progressive. In my opinion, progression includes the replacement of old practices with new ones. What is the point in constructing buildings where no literate person would opt to live because of such religious terror? I belong to a Punjabi family, but completely condemn such practices, where prayer means shouting on a loudspeaker and destroying lives of honest hard-working people. Shameful act, god help India.
If anybody of you are thinking of moving to Punjab, I would suggest you to think again, and if you have no other option, then make sure at least you are not close to any gurudwara. Because you won’t receive any kind of assistance for such problems, but only hate and a tag of being intolerant and anti-god.
Help me friends, and please share this article with as many people as you can. I really really need help. None of us educated youth would want India to become a religious nuisance. Please help me.