Celebrating Diwali in today’s context, How do you celebrate your’s?
Festivals, India is supposed to be a land of festivals. Festivals are meant to bring happiness and joy and one such festival is Diwali. This is one of those festivals in India which is celebrated irrespective of religion, cast or creed. It is celebrate to signify the victory of good over EVIL. (good, EVIL)
The lighting of earthen lamps or diyas which is now replaced by electric diyas signifies a new beginning of enlightenment and the end of the darkness of ignorance. Though I still see some of those earthen lamps occasionally here and there. Guess people find it really difficult to depart from tradition and keep hanging between the tradition and the change.
Here’s how it used to be for me. Diwali used to start with house cleaning and whitewashing (which used to be at least a couple of days affair), colorful Rangoli in the evening, followed by Lakshmi Pooja. Then lightening of diyas, placing it everywhere throughout the house, boundaries, flowerpots. We used to go to our farm land to place diyas, there used to be a pump room where diyas used to be placed. Some firecrackers and then the best part, family get-together.
But the time has changed, so has the way diwali is celebrated. Now it is all about electric illumination all over the place and bursting noisiest fire crackers.
- Excessive air pollution
- Excessive noise pollution
- Soil pollution
- Excessive power consumption
- Consumption of packaging plastics, papers..
- Skin allergies
- Eye related problems
- Respiratory problems
Most of these problems are caused because of the poisonous substances found in firecrackers. There is also a darker side to the so called bright and colorful diwali. It is a big home to child labours, who lead a life of bondage and slavery. Imagine your children handling these toxic substances which goes into the firecrackers, you’ll feel bad. Because of this they get diseases associated with the poisonous substances and obliviously lack of money and lack of medicinal facility forces them to die young.
It also has got an adverse effect on underprivileged people. Imagine you doing all sorts of enjoyments and letting the whole world know about it and in a corner there’s a kid sitting with a sad face and watching celebration all over the place.
You give your child a moment of happiness by burning firecrackers at the expense of other child’s life. Is it fair? It’s up to you to get the answer.
Animals, especially Dogs and Cats also suffer because of firecrackers as they have a more sensitive hearing system. If you have them as a pet at home, you’ll understand what I mean. They go berserk on the D day.
To sum it up, here is the darker side of Diwali –
- All sorts of Pollutions
- Child Exploitation
- High Energy Consumption
- Animal Suffering
With all these drawbacks is it really worth celebrating Diwali the way we are celebrating it today? A big no for me. You either stop celebrating Diwali (as I have done, there is no significance of Diwali for me) or change the way you celebrate Diwali. Try and bring happiness to others and feel the happiness.
I was reading an article somewhere and they claimed that crackers worth 500+ crore are burnt just in Mumbai. What a way to use your money. Wow. Imaging the amount of smoke we pump into our eco system by that 500+ crore.
Here’s what you can do –
- Bring Happiness to Less Privileged – instead of partying amongst yourselves, go out and distribute food, sweets and clothes. (Don’t you get a new pair of clothes for yourselves on Diwali?)
- You can opt for community celebration instead of individual celebration & competing with your neighbors on how long your cracker celebration goes, how much worth of crackers you can burn..
- Instead of electric illumination that too for long hours go back to the traditional lightening of earthen lamps/diyas
- Burn crackers away from hospitals, if you still don’t get my point on burning crackers.
- Go for eco-friendly crackers which are made up of recycled papers and produce less sound (under the decibel limit defined by the Pollution Board). These crackers produce color lights instead of sound on bursting.
- Avoid purchasing unnecessary things on Diwali. The more you consume, the more raw material is consumed to manufacture those things which puts extra load on the natural resources which are already becoming scarce.
- Instead of throwing away stuffs or preserving all that unwanted stuff when you clean your home for diwali, give it to needy. I know, it will be hard to give it to needy as they will not be able to pay you 20 bugs for it. We can’t even donate news papers, rather well sell them for 5/- a Kg. Give it a try though.
- Pledge to educate one kid every diwali. At the least you can bear the yearly expenses which goes towards the education of a kid.
- Avoid using wrappers for Diwali Gifts. Since its celebrated in a grand way in our holy land you can imagine the amount of wrapping and waste generated on that single day which which being non-degradable lies on our holy land for decades.
- Go out and feed some animals. They are out on the streets because of us. We have taken their habitat to construct our 2 BHK and 3 BKH houses.
It is high time now we put our thinking cap and start analyzing every step we take.
“I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man [woman] whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him [her]. Will he [she] gain anything by it? Will it restore him [her] to a control over his [her] own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions?
Then you will find your doubts and your self melt away.”
– One of the last notes left behind by Gandhi in 1948, expressing his deepest social thought.
Also let me know what you think about this, how are you going to celebrate your diwali this time?
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