Ask any outsider what they think about India. The answers range from dirty, traffic, crowded and noisy. Noise is actually the first thing that hits any outsider; it is almost an assault on the ears the moment one steps out from the aiport. Noise - of people, of chaos and of the honking of vehicles.
Vehicle drivers are trigger happy; any small crease on the drive and they immediately honk and keep on honking. Abroad, if you honk at someone, it is considered to be rude, akin to giving a bad word. But here, even while standing in the red signal, people honk.
Anti-noise activists are trying to change this image about India. The task of persuading Indians to stop honking is a daunting task. After all, be it a person driving a Mercedes, a Maruti 800 or an auto rickshaw driver; honking is a necessity while driving on our roads. A couple of years ago, an anti-noise NGO – the Earth Saving Foundation, based in Delhi formed a crew of social workers, students and corporate volunteers to target the drivers of Delhi 2-3 times in a month and paste stickers on car bumpers. The stickers read ‘Do not honk!’ , ‘For God’s sake stop honking!’ amongst others.
They had sought official permission to make January 1st as ‘No Honking Day.’ This noble campaign took years but finally, starting from 2018, 1st January will now officially be declared as “No Honking” day. However, there is still a long battle until people understand the actual purpose of the horn i.e. “emergencies”.