Sound and Light about Music

By Ashwin Tombat
16 April 2017 18:04 IST

Even as Town and Country Planning Minister and Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardessai recently made a representation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow music to be played till midnight in Goa, Minister for Water Resources and Siolim MLA Vinod Palyekar said he would completely stop all loud music parties along the beaches in his constituency within the next two weeks.

Sardessai says he wants  to retain Goa's pre-eminence as a beach wedding destination and also allow local weddings to go on uninterrupted. Palyekar believes stopping of late night parties is a first step to curtail the drug trade along the coast.

The irony is that both are in the same political party — Goa Forward.

They are not talking about the same thing. But, effectively, while Sardessai wants relaxation of the 10pm sound curfew for six months in the year, Palyekar is dead against it.

As a state, Goa runs on Tourism. It is not the single biggest earner in terms of the state's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). But no one can deny that for employment and livelihood, a very significant percentage of Goans depend directly or indirectly on Tourism; more than any other sector of the economy.

Does that mean we should allow loud music to be played till late in the night? Well, the answer is Yes and No.

It is a fact that young students are unable to study and old people find it difficult to sleep when parties go on till the wee hours. But is it not possible to identify places where such disturbance is nil or minimal, and allow loud music in only such areas? Is it not possible to identify certain days or months when music can be allowed till late, and relax the ban only during such periods?

At present, Goa gets the same 15 days a year of exemption from the 10pm curfew that the rest of India gets. For a tourist state, that is a disaster. But Palyekar's objections are valid. By definition, the Rave Party experience combines loud Electronic Dance Music (EDM) with consumption of synthetic drugs, usually LSD, MDMA (Ecstasy) or their bio-similars. That is something we can definitely do without.

The answer needn't be all or nothing. We need to think outside the box. We need solutions that are realistic, creative and different.

In the old days, we had dances for festivals and feasts — attended almost exclusively by locals — on a number of important nights in the year. These usually started after 10pm and went on all night till the sun rose the next morning. No one complained.

Late night parties are very much a part of Goan culture. But we cannot have them disrupting our children's studies or our elders' sleep on a continuous basis. However, with proper identification of permissible sites and times of year — which may vary from village to village, and from city to city — it is very possible to evolve solutions that are acceptable to all stakeholders.

There are even technological solutions available. The famous Ban Ganga Indian Classical Music Festival in Mumbai used an FM transmitter as an amplifier and stereo FM radios as speakers; to keep its decibel levels within the legal limits, enabling the music to go on till the wee hours of the morning.

With political will, realism, flexibility and innovative thinking, there is always a way...

Blogger's Profile

Ashwin Tombat

Ashwin Tombat has been the Editor of Gomantak Times and Herald. Worked as an Associate Editor of national magazine Gentleman in Mumbai, before shifting to Goa. Loves sailing, also participates in Marathons. Has worked as an activist in students's union and trade unions in Maharashtra. Also an artist of Street Theatre during student days.

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