Deepavali: An appeal

Diwali: An appeal


Gone are the days when Diwali used to be a real fun filled festival of lights.

Do we remember why we used to celebrate Diwali? Not many can answer.

Swami Vivekananda had said that Hinduism has two parts: Spiritualism and Rituals, unfortunately people focus on rituals. How true Swami’s words are today. The spiritualism is thrown down the drain or the gutters where all our post Diwali trash goes, that are often toxic. However, we are ever eager to show are financial wealth in making our rituals much more bigger. If God were to be dumb and get easily appeased by our rituals, then surely he would be happy with show of wealth by today’s generation, which our forefathers didn’t.

And show of wealth it is!

Imports are pouring in from China. Gone are the traditional clay lamps, replaced by fancy lights imported from China. Currently there are no norms governing the imports of these lights nor does anyone measure whether the plastics and other materials are non-toxic. The eWaste rules is supposed to have been implemented in May 2012, has among others covers only a few products and for all practical purposes is able to hold responsible only the large producers (and in a few cases importers who are also technically defined as producers). There is no idea how many tons of such products will go to the landfill.

The firecrackers used to be celebratory in nature. However, if every second a firecracker or a series of those explode filling the entire place with a blanket of thick smoke, the impact on the respiratory system and overall health of people is huge. The State Governments of Delhi has come out with advertisements in few leading dailies to appeal to people to celebrate this as a cracker-free Diwali. Unfortunately, this needs a lot of more effort than just a few advertisements in leading dailies.

Fireworks in the night sky

Fireworks in the night sky

The Government should have directed all the Schools to conduct drama, skit, elocution competitions on the theme of pollution and celebrating a cracker-free Diwali. That will help in convincing the kids and putting pressure on their parents.

I am away from Delhi, so I can breathe better. However, even in Odisha people are bursting crackers at the middle of night, even two days before Diwali. If I could wake up, imagine the plight of the birds and animals. Most of them get disoriented and try to hide. There are increased palpitations, higher blood pressure, increased stress. It can lead to increased abortion in several species. For further details please check this article from IndiaWilds Newsletter Vol. 4 Issue VI titled ‘Soundscape Ecology: Impact of sounds on our wildlife’ :

Considering the fact that there are several areas with Human-elephant conflict, the sound and smell of firecrackers bursting is likely to further intensify the conflict.

Change begins with us. I have stopped using firecrackers. If you too can follow what you believe in, then we all can be true harbingers of change. I choose to live in hope.

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