On An Earth Mission

  • Shilpy Arora / FG
  • India
  • Aug 09, 2013


It all started when Ravi Kalra, a Martial Arts instructor to the Army and the Delhi Police, was walking on a footpath. His children called on his mobile phone but he couldn’t hear what they were saying, due to the noise from the honking of cars all around. Frustrated, and determined, he decided to do something about noise pollution. He got over 5 lakhs ‘Don’t Honk’ stickers printed and stuck them on the backs of cars, buses, autos and trucks. This gave birth to a unique ‘Don’t Honk’ drive in the Capital in 2008. The initiative soon turned into a campaign and led to the formation of an NGO called “The Earth Saviours Foundation”.

Today the Foundation is an internationally recognised NGO. It is making every possible effort to protect the environment. “In India, unnecessary vehicular honking is the main reason for noise pollution. The problem is the worst at traffic signals, where drivers start honking even before the signal has turned green. They show no respect for the law, which prohibits the use of horns at traffic signals and silent zones - such as areas near hospitals, schools and residential areas,” says Kalra. Many people, including the City Traffic Police and the President of the Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE), Rohit Baluja, appreciate the efforts undertaken by The Earth Saviours Foundation. Rohit says, “Volunteers of the Foundation not only stick posters on the vehicles, but also talk to auto rickshaw and bus drivers. Volunteers ask interesting questions to drivers, like, “Dear uncle, can’t you drive without honking?” or plead, “For God’s sake, please stop honking”. And then there is the campaign’s most effective slogan – “Even a dog does not bark for no reason; why must you (an intelligent human) just honk?” The Foundation also spreads awareness about the methods used by other countries to tackle this honking menace. Ayushi Mudgal, a volunteer, informs that in France drivers switch their lights from high to low beam to signal their annoyance - rather than honking.

The Foundation also worked for the conservation of the Rajokri Forest, near the City. 10 years ago it was a 600-acre forest with rich flora and fauna. Residents recall spotting nilgai, deer and wild hare. But today there are just mounds of construction rubble and garbage – and traffic. “What was once a dirt track through the forest is now a 10-foot wide short cut for vehicles between Delhi and Gurgaon. Some animals just stand there; they are at high risk of being run over. So we have demanded to that a fence be built around the forest – it will also stop the trespassing,” explains Kalra. He has also filed a PIL in the Supreme Court, to try and save the forest cover and wildlife in the Rajokri Forest.

Another unique initiative taken by The Earth Saviours Foundation is the promotion of electric cremation. The Foundation believes that over-consumption of wood is one of the main causes for the destruction of the ecosystem. “Cremating a human corpse consumes a minimum of 300 kg of wood. Moreover, the burning releases smoke that contains harmful gases such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. The government has installed CNG and electric cremation machines at many cremation centres in the country, but most of them remain unused - people do not still opt to use them. We believe it is important to promote the use of an electric cremation system,” says Kalra, who is a firm believer in the Hindu religion. He feels that the same religious prayers, mantras and traditional rituals can be performed even while cremating a body by the CNG or electric cremation system. Kalra has cremated over 2,500 unidentified and unclaimed bodies at electric cremation centres. These are the bodies of people who die during road accidents, or are found floating in the Yamuna River, or lie half-eaten by animals in forests and drains. These unidentified people are brought by the police to the electric cremation centre, where Kalra’s team performs their cremation with prayers and dignity.

Working for the less privileged

Along with a drive to protect the environment, The Earth Saviours Foundation runs a school for underprivileged children, a rehabilitation centre for destitute women, an old age home for the abandoned elderly and a rehabilitation centre for mentally-challenged people. This composite initiative is a first-of-its-kind in India, as it offers free accommodation, food, medical treatment and day-to-day facilities round the clock. “It is painful to come across a large number of street children who eat garbage, and abandoned elderly and mentally challenged people who roam on the roads. Most of them have no shelter and they can be seen on the streets walking barefoot in torn clothes - or sometimes naked. Rescue centres of The Earth Saviours Foundation help these people find a home,” Kalra says.

Kalra, who is known as the “No Honking Man of India”, is working hard to save the environment. He feeds 250 underprivileged people every day and works tirelessly for seven days a week. He believes that he is the most fortunate man in the world, as God has given him an opportunity to serve the poor, destitute and abandoned people. All he hopes for is better support from the society. “The major roadblock in taking up any project is obviously a lack of funds. We don’t have any corporate tie-up. We don’t get any help from the government. We therefore depend on funds coming from individuals. We provide shelter to more than 2,000 people. We just seek better support from the society,” he concludes.


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