KOLKATA: A silent revolution has been taking place in the traffic-packed, honk-abused streets of this eastern metropolis. Dipak Das, a driver has been chauffeuring around without honking since the last 18 years.
Das was awarded the Manush Samman at the second edition of the Manush Mela (Humanity Fair) after verification of his 'no-honking' feat. Celebrated musicians who had availed of Das's service vouched for his no-horns policy.
"It's a combination of time, speed and pace. If these are synchronised, then you don't need to honk. Without the horn blaring you can actually drive with more concentration and safely. No matter whereever I have driven, in the city or across the state, it's without honking," Das told IANS.
The 51-year-old's turning point in life came when over 18 years ago he sat reading a poem celebrating the serenity in nature penned by famed Bengali poet Jibanananda Das.
"I was in a very tranquil area in south Kolkata surrounded by green ery and bird calls. Jibanananda's poetry spoke about peace, silence and being surrounded by nature. And as I wasnsoaking in the aura, suddenly there was a cacophony of honking horns. It broke my reverie.
"A school in the neighbourhood had just closed for the day and cars and buses were in a frenzy to take the children home. It was then that I realised I should do something," he explained.
Since then he has never looked back.
"Horn is a concept. I care for your heart", says the placard that Das proudly displays on vehicles he drives.
He hopes one day Kolkata would be horn-free.
"I have a few ideas which I want to share with the state government . For example, to control honking, if the laws could be amended to include community service rather than levying a fine for honking excessively in a horn-free zone, then we could achieve the objective," he added.