Sound & fury: Why we Indians have learnt to speak so loudly – Times of India

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A former associate editor with the Times of India, Jug Suraiya writes two regular columns for the print edition, Jugular Vein, which appears every Friday, and Second Opinion, … MORE
India is a blast – a blast of noise. Noise, of all sorts.
On city roads there is the shriek and screech of horns blown by buses, trucks, cars, two-wheelers and three-wheelers. It’s not for nothing that we Indians can proudly claim to be among the horniest people in the world, in more ways than one.
Then there is the endless banging and hammering of new construction. What with its growing population, India is a never-ending work-in-progress, and there are always new apartment blocks, offices, malls, flyovers and what-have-you being built, all adding to the general din. But arguably the biggest component in the general noise level in the country is, literally, the voice of India. Not the voice of India, which some might say is Mann ki Baat, but the general awaz of all of India, to which all us Indians contribute.
As befits what is not only the world’s most populous democracy but also perhaps its most voluble, India loves sounding off.
We Indians love to talk all the time, about everything and anything: IPL, politics, the latest Bollywood blockbuster, politics, local gossip, health problems, more politics.
And we not only talk about all these things, and more, but we tend to do so at the top of our voices, the Everest of our vocal chords, so to speak.
Why do we Indians talk so loudly? Perhaps it’s because – consciously or otherwise – we’re following the example set by our TV news anchors.
All our news anchors shout. It’s a job requirement, and they’re selected on the basis of their lung power. Why do news anchors shout? Because the louder they say something, the more important it becomes.
In the print medium capital letters are used to denote importance LIKE THIS. On television, largeness of letters is replaced by loudness of voice, LIKE THIS!!!
The louder a news anchor’s voice, the higher that anchor’s rating. The result is that our news anchors could more aptly be called noise anchors.
In order to hear ourselves above what our noise anchors are saying – or rather, shouting – we have to raise our own decibelic volume. Or our own desi-belic volume.
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Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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