As I sneaked into my cozy bed last night, I was woken up by a sudden explosion. The windows rattled, my heart pounded fast and the whole house vibrated. At first thought, I wondered if it was an earthquake, but then I came to my senses.
“Oh, it’s that time of the year.”
Diwali. It’s that time of the year when it is hell for people suffering from asthma. It’s that time of the year for people with a weak heart. It’s that time of the year when animals get terrified. It’s that time of the year when dogs do not eat and run into other localities to get bitten by other dogs. It’s that time of the year when cows get injured terribly. It’s that time of the year when birds panic due to high decibel noises. It’s that time of the year when many humans “celebrate”.
The Festival of Lights or the Festival of Noise?
As the sounds of the other firecrackers continued in the background, I thought myself to sleep. Why are people using “atom bombs” to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights? I see kids on the street keeping these noisy crackers a few meters away from their houses. They do not mind even if they place them in front of another neighbor’s house. Then they run towards them with an incense stick, light them and run away. In the distance, they hear a “Dum” and then there are papers and chemicals all over place. The foul smell and gunpowder scattering in the air does not seem to be a huge problem for them as well.
What is Deepavali or Diwali Actually?
There are many reasons as to why one celebrates Diwali. Most of them are mythological, but that is no harm. Diwali is celebrated in 5 days, and not in one as most of us imagine. Hindus celebrate Diwali to mark the victory of Lord Krishna over a demon called Narakasura. Even Jains and Sikhs celebrate Diwali for various reasons. Other reasons that mark Diwali are mentioned here.
But the prime reason to celebrate this festival is to light lamps and overcome darkness. It signifies the victory of good over evil. There is no specific reason to create noise pollution or air pollution during Diwali. It is something that we absorbed over the years due to the ‘trend’. We jumped on the bandwagon and started bursting fireworks to celebrate the festival.
The name Deepavali or Diwali itself means “light from a lamp”. There is no Indian tradition of lighting fireworks and it is a Chinese/Western tradition. Is Diwali a western festival? Of course, not. So, there is again no point in bursting crackers.
A true Diwali is peaceful. All it takes for a person to celebrate it is to light a lamp and share some love.
“But… Crackers Are a Part of Diwali”
No, not actually. When I tell people not to burst crackers for Diwali, they suddenly become philosophers.
“Hey, what about transportation then? It causes global warming.”
“What about the fridge, AC at your house? It releases CFC into the air!”
“What about other countries? They burst crackers too!”
“I cannot disappoint my kids. If you have a kid and he asks you for fireworks, you will buy them for him too.”
“It is my money. I will do whatever I want with it.”
“First of all, you stop all of these things. Then come tell me to stop bursting fireworks. I will”.
Fair enough. It has become a “trend” once again to counter-argue with someone when they say something. But none of these arguments or questions mentioned above make sense.
Transportation is indeed the major cause of global warming. But by bursting crackers, you only add to it. Bursting crackers is also not as important as transportation. It never gets you to move from one place to another, unless you get hurt by fireworks. Again, only transportation will help you to get to the hospital. Transportation saves lives and compared to crackers, its effect is minimal. Transportation takes place daily and many vehicles burn fuel, but if we burst the same volume of crackers that we light on Diwali every day, we would all be dead by now.
Now, for the other questions, you might as well know that I could write befitting answers. But that is not the point I want to make here. I just included them just to prevent someone from typing comments like these imagining that I have no idea about their intelligence. These are just questions that people ask to justify their actions.
Ok, How Do I Celebrate a Peaceful, Traditional Diwali?
When we follow tradition for other ceremonies like marriage, why not for Diwali? What is the point in celebrating the festival anyway if not for tradition? Do we light up crackers inside a marriage hall during a wedding ceremony?
Celebrating a traditional and peaceful Diwali is very simple. If you have not bought any fireworks yet, you are awesome. If you have, dig a pit in your garden or elsewhere, bury all the fireworks and crackers.
Next, buy some lamps, some lamp oil and light them inside and outside your house (not on the roads). Switch off the lights or dim the lights. Get some sweets or eatables. If you are a good cook, make them yourselves. Now eat the sweets and distribute them to your neighbors.
That is how simple it is. This is the perfect traditional Diwali. If this is done, the Gods will be happy, sick people will be happy, the kids will be happy and the animals would be happy. Most of all, everyone would be happy.
Do you remember that we wish each other a Happy and ‘Safe’ Diwali these days? That’s because we made it unsafe. The real Diwali is peaceful. It is safe.
Wishing everyone who read this a Happy Diwali. If you find it meaningful, please do share the article.