An Indian driver has received the Manush Sanman award for not honking once in the past 18 years. It may seem a strange award, but India is well known for the chaos of its roads, and the typical driver’s almost constant use of the car horn. Dipak Das, a Kolkata-based driver, believes that India can change this and eventually achieve peaceful, quiet roads.
Honking is a huge part of the driving experience in India, as people pretty much use them as an alternative to side mirrors. Some cars don’t even have side mirrors, while others have them folded, as to extend them outward could lead to collisions with other vehicles. Instead, Indian motorists honk incessantly to avoid collisions on the road where traffic is chaotic and so dense that cars appear just about to bump into each other at all times. Drivers honk to indicate that they’re about to make a pass or to indicate that another driver is too close. This creates unbearable noise pollution that many consider hugely detrimental to Indian society.
Dipak Das, has worked as a chauffeur for many Indian celebrities, such as table maestro Pandit Tanmoy Bose, and guitarist Kunal, among others, and they have all praised his efforts to reduce noise pollution. The organizers of Manush Mela (Humanity Fair) have verified his atypical driving etiquette, and have recently honored him with the Manush Sanman award for his inspiring efforts. Das is a firm believer in a no-horn policy and hopes that his behavior will help inspire other drivers to use the horn less frequently. He hasn’t used the car honk in 18 years, and hopes others will follow his example.