Dhol-tasha groups in Pune asked to begin practice after July 25, till 10 pm | pune news | Hindustan Times
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Dhol-tasha groups in Pune asked to begin practice after July 25, till 10 pm

This year, the police have asked the groups to begin practice by July 25, said Parag Shashikant Thakur, head of Dhol-Tasha Mahasangha, an association of dhol-tasha groups. The mahasangha consists of 150 dhol-tasha groups from Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Nigdi area  

pune Updated: Jul 06, 2017 16:04 IST
Shalaka Shinde
The members of the dhol-tasha groups are working professionals from different sectors who come together during the festival.
The members of the dhol-tasha groups are working professionals from different sectors who come together during the festival.(HT PHOTO)

The dhol and tasha (hand-held drums) groups in the city of Pune met Rashmi Shukla, commissioner of police, and Ganesh Shinde, deputy commissioner of police (Zone 3) on Wednesday to discuss various ways to control the sound pollution faced by the residents of the city during Ganesh festival.  

Although the loud music created by the humongous drums is widely famous during the Ganesh festival, it is considered by many as a nuisance in the run-up to the festival.The dhol-tasha players usually start practising months before the festival actually begins. The continuous noise caused by the drums near residential areas and hospitals across the city has faced opposition in the past as well.  

This year, the police have asked the groups to begin practice by July 25, said Parag Shashikant Thakur, head of Dhol-Tasha Mahasangha, an association of dhol-tasha groups. The mahasangha consists of 150 dhol-tasha groups from Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Nigdi area, said Thakur.  

However, major groups in the city have already begun their practice sessions as the rains and school/college schedules after July create acute paucity of time. Therefore, Thakur also added that the association has asked for another meeting with the police regarding the issue.  

Last year as well, commissioner Shukla had met with the Dhol-Tasha Mahasangha and discussed the issue. However, the efficiency of these discussions was highly questionable.  

The major points of the discussion will pertain to the time, space and sound levels during the months before the Ganesh festival, said deputy CP Teli. During similar meetings in the previous years, the groups were given a time limit of 10 pm for their practice sessions everyday, he added. The meeting will not only discuss the guidelines but also the repercussions they will have to face if the rules are not followed.  

The members of the dhol-tasha groups are working professionals from different sectors who come together during the festival. The practice spots of various groups come live around the city as these professionals come together for practice at various spots like the open grounds near Market Yard and Vruddheshwar Ghat near the Mula river.  

Sanjay Satpute, the founder and trustee of Samartha Pratishthan group, said that the groups were given routine instructions last year on how they should refrain from congesting the roads and allow people to pass through.  

Last week, an association of these groups, Dhol Tasha Mahasangha, held an internal meeting with the organisers and discussed the issues faced by them during the festival.  

“We have around 40 dhols and 10 tashas. We used to practice in Nigdi earlier, but shifted our practise sessions to Pashan gaon as residents used to file complaints with the police. We have children and female members who face difficulties due to the distance, late night travel and monsoon,” said Archana Kulkarni of Audhoot Dhol Tasha Pathak.  

However, the presence of these high decibel instruments is not just an external problem. Dr Neelkanth Karandikar, a consulting cardiologist in the city, pointed out that there were various health hazards associated with these high intensity sounds.  

“The ultrasounds, which are not audible to human ears, do not affect the human body much. However, high decibel sounds are extremely stressing. It also affects the brain in a negative manner. The experience of DJ systems and festival sounds are very stressful to heart patients. To put it in perspective, high decibel sounds were previously used in torture cells,” he said.  

While these problems are unavoidable, the festive spirit induced by the Ganesh festival is undeniable. Even as the groups gear up and begin their practice by the end of June, whether the police and group representatives come up with a better solution for the problem, remains to be seen.