Mumbai: Drummers leave citizens banging heads on the wall

Jul 02, 2018, 15:00 IST | Anurag Kamble

With residents and motorists complaining about noise pollution, police say while they are acting upon complaints, the dhol groups keep coming back

Mumbai: Drummers leave citizens banging heads on the wall
Dhol tasha troupes can be found practising loudly on open spaces across the city, such as this group along the Eastern Express Highway. Pic/Rajesh Gupta

Sunday began with a rude shock for citizens across the city, as they were jolted awake with the banging of practising dhol pathaks. Yesterday alone, the Mumbai Police control room received 10 complaints, while at least five others expressed their outrage on Twitter. On the other hand, the troupes argue that with just weeks left for the festive season, they need time and space to practise.

With July here, hundreds of youths can be spotted zealously drumming away at parks, roads, flyovers and pretty much any public space. Their favourite places to practice by far are the city's flyovers, since they provide shelter from rain. But there's nothing protecting the citizens from the din they make every evening, and all through the day during weekends.

A dhol pathak practises along the Eastern Express Highway. Pic/Rajesh Gupta
A dhol pathak practises along the Eastern Express Highway. Pic/Rajesh Gupta

Yesterday, several Mumbaikars took to Twitter to voice their displeasure, tagging the Mumbai Police as well. Sahej wrote, "Every Sunday these people play drums below the Mrunaltai Gore flyover, Goregaon (East). My grandmother is not able to sleep. Please take some action." Nikhil Sampat tweeted, "Dhol practice going in Sambhaji Kridangan at Santacruz (W) every evening. Loud noise is killing; please get them to stop ASAP."

Copspeak
The police control room got as many as 10 calls from harried citizens yesterday. Shahji Umap, deputy commissioner of police (zone VI), told mid-day, "Whenever we get such complaints about noise pollution we do take action."

An inspector posted in the control room added, "We do get calls about dhol pathaks and direct the local police to stop them. If they cross the stipulated time or noise limit, the police are directed to take action. But many pathaks comply with the cops' request."

Letting them off with a warning doesn't seem to work though, with citizens still subjected to the same racket day after day. Priya Gupta tweeted to Mumbai Police, alleging, "Your constables take money from these bandwalas and allow them to play on the road under Mrunaltai flyover every Sunday. No civilised city in the world can allow such kind of noise pollution."

'Where will we go?'
On their part, the dhol tasha troupes argue that as long as they don't practise at residential areas, they should be allowed to carry on. Nilesh Chalke, who runs the Moraya Dhol Tasha Pathak, said, "The festive season is just around the corner, and we need to practise. I agree that no one should practise near residential areas, but in the monsoon, flyovers are best place.

"We don't want to trouble citizens, but if we don't practise, how will we perform? If the police allot us proper time and permission, we will definitely comply."

Vipul Shinde, in charge of the Eklavya Dhol Tasha Pathak, echoed: "We practise under a flyover on the Eastern Express Highway. I had gone to seek permission from an MSRDC official, but he was hesitant. Even today, a policeman came and asked us to stop. We are away from residential areas, so why can't we practise?"
Input by Ranjeet Jadhav

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