Dear Mr Shah Rukh Khan,
Subject: Endorsement of dangerous and harmful festivals violating noise pollution rules and causing severe injury and death.
With a heavy heart, I watched your endorsements of two politically organised Janmashthami celebrations where noise rules were violated in blatant and willful disregard of the law of the land and high court and Supreme Court Orders.
These violations caused lasting physical damage to participants, especially children and innocent bystanders (since they were in a Silence Zone and Residential Zone respectively).
This year, the peak level at one of the Dahi Handis you endorsed reached 106.8 dB and the other one reached 96 dB. Such high levels of noise can cause permanent damage to hearing, specially in infants, and also cause other serious health effects including mental illness, high blood pressure, heart disease etc. A school for hearing impaired children in Mumbai reports 10 children who went deaf because of exposure to loud noise in infancy. Students who may have crucial exams may not be able to concentrate and would therefore lose out on their entire future career paths due to noise in their area at the wrong time.
The festival of Janmasthami has also become increasingly dangerous for participants after politicians have started organising huge events and giving out crores in prize money to attempt dangerously high pyramids, without any safety measures. Typically, children are at the top of these pyramids. A number of deaths and life altering injuries including paralysis are reported every year after Janmasthami. The pleasure taken by crowds of people, playing of Bollywood music and cheering while children fall and often get paralysed or die are almost akin to barbaric Roman practices and do not deserve endorsement by a celebrity with a conscience such as yourself.
Such practices are also very far from any traditional Indian practice, which encouraged innocent celebrations within smaller communities and homes and did not dabble with crores in prize money and display of political power to subvert the law of the land and disregard high court and Supreme Court orders. Earlier this year, I was pleased to watch your answer to Yale Law School Student Nikhil Sud how brand endorsements were simply a way to reach a financial and celebrity level where you could get into a position of choice, but that, once having got into this position, you had a duty not to misuse it.
Your answer went on to speak about how you are committed to creating opportunities for younger people to be creative, and how you actually cried because of some of the non-creative things you had to do in order to reach this position of strength.
You have indeed reached this position of strength now and are respected as an icon of society whom people look up to for direction and guidance. I appeal to you to refrain from endorsing such dangerous and even illegal ‘celebrations’, which are in violation of the laws of the land. I am sure that your sentiments so sincerely expressed at Yale College would, after these issues are brought to your notice, perhaps even motivate you to endorse instead the noise pollution campaign in which many citizens’ groups and ordinary citizens have joined hands.
Thank you and with regards.
Convenor, Awaaz Foundation
Dear Mr Shah Rukh Khan,
Why are most studies and reports available online in the form of pdfs? Why not create a web page with the results?
Those who ignore the hungry are traitors
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