There were no lights, yet people's energy was at its peak at the India Gate lawns on Saturday night. Over a thousand people gathered and grooved to rocking numbers belted out by Indian band Euphoria as part of the third edition of Earth Hour, a global initiative on climate change.
Toddlers, youngsters, middle-aged and old-aged - the crowd was an eclectic mix, but everyone seemed unified in saving electricity from 8:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m., the official time of the Earth Hour.
"I think it was a really wonderful idea to have an open concert by Euphoria. Out of the many people who came for the concert, many would have stayed home and not cared to switch off the lights. So it was very wise on WWF’s part to organise an event like this, where everyone was invited," said Sharmishtha Chatterjee, a DU student, who came to attend the concert with a large group of friends.
A lot of the crowd just came strolling or stopped while cycling, and enjoyed singer Palash Sen’s popular hits Rok sako toh rok lo, Kaise bhoolegi mere naam, Kabhi aana tu meri galli and Maaeri. Many weren’t aware of the cause and wondered what the “60+” sign at the back of the stage stood for, but the concert became a reason of an outing for them.
“Humein toh pataa chala yahaan gaana bajaana ho raha hai…toh hum aa gaye. Baaki toh hum kuch nahin jaante (We got to know there is some music and dance happening here, so we came for some entertainment. We don’t know about the rest),” said Rakesh Agarwal, who was accompanied by his wife and four-year-old child.
The concert took place in minimum lighting on the stage, with just a few street lights for people’s convenience. The lights of India Gate were switched on following a 10-second countdown to 9:30 p.m. by Palash Sen and Bollywood actress Vidya Balan, who came to support the cause.
“I am both privileged and elated to be part of Earth Hour 2011. It is encouraging to see the support that our very own citizens have lent to Earth Hour. I have pledged to take action even beyond the hour. Each one of us has the power to make a difference. We just need to be conscious of it and make wise choices,” said Vidya, dressed in an Earth Hour t-shirt and a pair of jeans.
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit came to show her solidarity too. "Delhi has come together again this year and pledged their support for Earth Hour India. The city plunged in darkness for a brighter tomorrow and we hope that Earth Hour sensitises each of one of us for making the shift to a better lifestyle," she said.
The capital saved 296 MW power during the Earth Hour.