Diwali is near. While I was waiting for the ‘Green-Diwali‘campaign from the usual suspects and the #SayNoToCrackers brigade to teach us how to celebrate our age-old festivals, in yet another colossal judicial overreach, Supreme Court has banned the sale of firecrackers in Delhi till Diwali this year.
The Supreme Court says that ban on firecrackers in Delhi would be in force until November 1st this year and firecrackers could be sold thereafter.
It is apparent that the Ban is specific to the celebration of Diwali. It tells us that only Diwali crackers cause pollution which is what make it a ridiculous decision. A decision that concerns environment, CANNOT come with an end date. Banning crackers only around Diwali makes it a ridiculously provocative decision. If this was a permanent ban on firecrackers in Delhi concerning the environment, I would be hailing it. Not this ban that divides people into religious lines.
Since childhood I have known bursting crackers as an integral part of Diwali celebrations. “Happy Diwali, but no fireworks” is a classic urban (diesel guzzling), the so-called ‘secular-liberal’ hypocrisy after their lifestyle has caused huge pollution compared to the rural population.
Our lifestyle (including theirs) is based on 365 days usage of polluting coal power, but ‘secular-liberals’ preach us against Diwali crackers for 3 hours! During everyday commute, the internal combustion causes 1000 times more pollution. To watch a TV debate on global warming, sitting in the AC rooms we (including them) burn thousands of watts of power, causing lung/liver/heart-sickness to people near coal plants. But they only want a Green Diwali.60% of India’s power is from coal that causes smog, soot, acid rain, global warming & toxic emissions 365 DAYS!
Power consumed by malls, the meat produced for your kebab and steak, the power consumed in a stadium during the 4 hours of carnival called the Indian Premier League, causes months of pollution to village children near coal plants. But they only want a Green Diwali.Check out the environmental impacts of coal power here: Coal Power Pollution.
Having said that, let us also ask ourselves a genuine question hoping a genuine answer. Do we like fireworks? Yes! Do we like overuse of fireworks? No! Then educate, and do not impose a blanket ban. A ban is provocative and will be counter productive.
I can assimilate the religious significance of lighting the lamps and welcoming the brighter aspects of life along with other narrations as well. But given the pollution levels that choke our cities and the massive expenditure involved, I feel this should be handled in a mature way. An absolute ban is impractical; at least the reduction could be and must be propagated in a mature way and by sensible environmentally conscious individuals and not by jhollawala hypocrites.
Across the world, millions enjoy such fireworks and pyrotechnics shows without unfortunate incidents and much fuss. Be it the July 4 fireworks in the US, Montreal Fireworks Festival, World Pyro Olympics, Philippines, Celebration of Light, New Year’s Eve fireworks in Sydney Habour or London’s Wembley Stadium. It is always an amazing experience.
Does it pollute? Of course, it does. So, does the fire-crackers during Diwali. We all do feel a little sorry when we wake up the next morning and the fresh morning air is replaced with smoke and the smell of gunpowder. Every human celebration does. But how polluting can be my little ‘Chakris’ & ‘Anaars compared to gas guzzling SUV’s ?
I am of the strong opinion that we must try to minimize the damage without eliminating the fun. Fight the overuse of crackers [causing both air and sound pollution] and it would be considered legitimate. The problem is in eliminating it and robbing the children and adults their day of fun in the name of “fireworks free Green Diwali.” If you are not an activist who fights a range of environmental issues and just crop up around Diwali time, you will be labeled as a Hinduphobe.
It is important to get to specifics instead of empty outrage. Fight against the specific type of crackers (with Sulphur and other damaging elements) which are the worst and people will listen to those razor focused concerned activists. But if you are instead fighting for a “fireworks free Green Diwali,” you are likely to be labeled as a clueless party-popper. And everyone ignores a hypocrite.
The fact is Industrial pollution is a problem, vehicular pollution is a problem, processing meat and beef creates a problem and bursting crackers is also a problem! No point drawing a bigger line to make the other line look small.
To be fair, Hindus inherently conserve nature, have high guilt/sense on their Eco-activities. The Hinduphobes masquerading as secular-liberals uses this guilt to engineer Green Diwali because for them every Hindu festival is a polluting, noisy and irritating tribal affair. Our secular friends have the problem with one day of Diwali and a half day of Holi.
As for fun, once a year when the family is together, friends are around, delicious food, pretty clothes, gifts and festive spirit, fun is guaranteed! Crackers only add some spice, not mandated. It should not become a way to show off how much money one could afford to burn with the night long fireworks.
Dear friends, this Diwali, gift a sapling, plant a tree. Let’s ensure a safer, less polluting Diwali by using the lovely earthen Diyas and try minimizing firecrackers (not cracker free). And of course, resist the attempt of Courts to dictate to you how to celebrate your festivals.