Friday Fun: “Walk On,” Hindi rock band tells Gurgaon

Euphoria, the nationally popular Hindi rock band, is writing an anthem to non-motorized transport for the city of Gurgaon. Photo by FrogStarB.

What do pop bands and urban development have to do with each other? Well, in Gurgaon, the largest city in the Indian state of Haryana – everything.

The nationally popular rock band Euphoria is composing a video anthem celebrating non-motorized transport.

The song – titled “Walk On” – will help to build momentum for the growing non-motorized transport movement in Gurgaon. Euphoria, which was founded in the late ’80s, performs their songs in Hindi, and has a wide following in India. Recently, Euphoria received renewed attention and acclaim when they composed the catchy anthem for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Now, they are bringing their knack for writing popular tunes to a new project – encouraging Gurgaon to improve their infrastructure for those who bike or walk.

Founder and lead vocalist of Euphoria, Palash Sen, told the Hindustan Times, “the environment has always been very close to my heart. I am involved with this campaign not only professionally but also emotionally and socially.”

In Gurgaon, where the non-motorized transport movement needs all the help it can get, Euphoria’s anthem couldn’t be more timely. Gurgaon is one of Delhi’s four major satellite cities, undergoing rapid growth and construction in the past 25 years. From 2001 to 2011, the city grew from 870,000 people to 1.5 million, erecting skyscrapers and rolling out highways. However, the city’s rapid development failed to account for the needs of pedestrians (all of us), cyclists, and other non-motorized forms of transport. Citizens who don’t drive don’t have the necessary infrastructure to get where they need to go safely.

In 2012 alone, 25 of the 55 traffic deaths in Gurgaon were pedestrians or cyclists attempting to walk on the Gurgaon expressway.

Now, the non-motorized transport movement in Gurgaon is growing. Urban planners and citizens alike have begun to demand equitable access to road space and transport. The NMT group, an informal group of concerned citizens, is leading a campaign to promote non-motorized transport in the city. Euphoria’s new song and music video – expected to be released in August –will help to spur the needed changes to Gurgaon’s car-centered infrastructure.

The anthem is an addition to a long series of events and activities intended to promote walking and cycling in Gurgaon. In April 2013 two non-profit groups – EMBARQ India and Pedal Yatri – worked together to organize a 12 km (7.5 miles) bike ride promoting bike safety and mobility. Almost 300 cyclists, including students, parents and teachers from The Heritage School and senior government officials from Gurgaon participated in the ride. Later that month, over 500 company executives living and working in Gurgaon walked to their offices from the nearest metro station as part of the CEOs Walk to Work initiative, to celebrate Earth Day. These small steps are helping to make walking and biking a normal part of everyday life in “the millennium city.”

In response to these efforts, the Haryana Urban Development Authority and the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon are working to install pedestrian sidewalks and dedicated cycling tracks. As the city moves forward with equitable urban design, Euphoria will provide the driving beat.

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