Mumbai: Light rains, just like in the first year of India’s Independence, brought in the 72nd Independence Day as Mumbai celebrated the day with great gusto. Not only the housing societies and company complexes unfurled the tricolour, but even worship places of all the faiths came together to rejoice the freedom.
On Wednesday, as many as 75 madrassas and masjids hoisted the national flag and sang the national anthem to celebrate the occasion. Muslim clerics and Ulemas (scholars) unfurled the tricolour at various places in the city and followed it up with sermons and call for peace.
Bhendi Bazaar hosted the biggest flag-hoisting ceremony. More than 150 people sang the national anthem in unison. “Some madrassas and masjids celebrated the day for the first time. Our masjid has been hoisting the national flag ever since the country achieved independence. But there seems to be a sudden bout of patriotism among the community,” said Maulana Syed Moinuddin Ashraf alias Moin Miya, from Sunni Jama Masjid and founder of the Maharashtra Muslim Front.
“We wanted to send out a message that Muslims care for the country too. We played as much part in the country’s Independence as anyone else. Our patriotic feelings are unparalleled,” Maulana added. Also, many city churches celebrated the day by calling for a special sermon. St Peter’s Church in Bandra remembered the martyrs in the freedom struggle and saluted the ones still safeguarding the country. Even St Louise Church in Dahisar held a special gathering. “We should salute the great leaders and freedom fighters who fought for the country’s independence and sacrificed their lives for the same,” said Father Blaise D’mello of St Louise Church.
Sahar Airport vows to make city honk-free
On Independence Day, Sahar airport organised a walkathon — which turned into a marathon, to make Mumbai honk-free. Yet another irony here was after the walkathon initiative, loud music was played out at the airport vicinity which did create some level of noise pollution.
The representatives of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), a silent airport, was promoting the idea of honk-free Mumbai, and thus thought maybe playing loud music was acceptable. This walkathon-turned-marathon saw large number of participants taking part.
While participants danced away to the tune, fliers who alighted the flight witnessed about this activity. The walkathon-turned-marathon was able to create some level of awareness about noise pollution by themselves causing noise pollution. There were few passerbys who felt it is a good idea to create awareness about noise pollution “I believe in minimal honking too,” says a curious onlooker.
A lady holding ears of her kid enquired the reason for all the music. Like many others, this lady also enjoyed the music and Zumba. In between all this entertainment, the participants pledged to create a honk-free Mumbai. It is estimated that vehicular honking contributes to 70 per cent of the noise pollution in the environment, and has reached alarming level in cities, affecting people’s health.