Sunday, November 11, 2012

To burst or not is the question -Diwali


I received a mail from Girigaru,  member of a social service group,  which prompted this post.

Girigaru was kind enough to permit me to use his mail here


"1. Do we know why do we fire crackers on Diwali? If we really have to fire crackers, what kind and why those kind? Or do we just have to light lamps (deepams)? Have the crackers become replacement for deepams?
2. Why is Diwali celebrated next day after Naraka Chaturdhashi?
3. What is the association of Goddess Lakshmi on the day? It looks we are rather making her scared with a Bomb named after her in our homes (Lakshmi Bomb)! There is a saying that with all the lights and deepams we welcome Goddess Lakshmi comes to our homes during Diwali (Deepavali). If so why do we need to make so much noises and fires with less light. I am sure Deepams are lit with more light and for long time than any other crackers we fire. Don't you all agree? But why do we still fall behind the crackers, which not only do lot of pollution (environment and sound).
4. Last but not the least, are we not encouraging the child labor (children still getting paid Rs. 40 a day) at Siva Kasi, major fire works manufacturer, which is still also a most fire accident prone place and the children suffer with all kind of skin and lung diseases after breathing in chemicals which were used for making those crackers (phohsporus, sulphur and what not).

Without know answers to all those, is it really making sense to do things what we are still doing during these festivals? I am not saying we should not to what we are doing, but I think we should find the answers to all these questions and make sure we do not harm ourselves, others and environment. There must be a reasons for all these, I am sure none of these reasons say that we should harm ourselves. There is a limit and we should realize this. Why can't we all just fire crackers together, may be just one big set of them for entire colony or town, may be just the way USA celebrates its Independence day. I am sure we can make much better fireworks that way than these small ones individually. This also brings on discipline and oneness among people as Anil said, and reduce the pollution and noise. Why can't we just stick to deepams (small lights lit with cotton in oil) and I think this is exactly what Deepavali means.

Just my two additions here.

Giri "



This mail set me thinking:

How much do we know about fire crackers,except that in younger days, used to look forward  with so much excitement, brag about the purchase, dry them in the sun, keep all the stuff ready, get set for the day and blassssst. Again brag about the blasting for next several days.

Later when we started questioning the very concept , we gradually got out of that,and only lighted a few flower pots.

Will Diwali be a festival if we have silent fire crackers or environmentally friendly ones? Will we appreciate such celebration, comparing ourselves with the neighbors who are crating such ruckus throughout the day and night?   Is there any way to celebrate without causing pollution?


If you are living in a neighborhood where Tamils, Telugus, Marwaris and other north Indians are co-existing, the noise levels start reaching the sky from morning 5 a.m. and goes on through the day. by night 10 p.m., you might think it is over , but no.. we see someone in the colony showing off at 11.30 p.m. on, In the next colony another one wants to celebrate only at 00.30 a.m. of the next day! so we are sleepless till 1.30 a.m. All in the  name of Diwali where we are forced to shut of our door and console our pet,with each burst,feel sad for the screeching birds. No one cares, it is Diwali see.

I was confused , and wanted to get the opinion of  a cross section of people I know, and here is what I found.

There are people who confess, that once they became aware of the noise pollution and environment decay,they celebrated  Diwali with lights and  have stopped bursting big crackers, resulting in peace of mind.


And there are some who feel that the world is changing and our efforts to maintain the eco system and reduce global warming is abysmal. Therefore one should not add to the already existing problems by bursting crackers and wasting precious money . Instead people should share  with the haven't and spread the joy of the festival.

There are  some people, who have lived for two scores and ten, who scoff at the idea of bursting , and wastage . The comparisons are between what was the cracker industry then, wherein only small chakras and other stuff was sold, with a few bombs which were made of palm leaves. The chemicals used too were not so hazardous. Now a days one doesn't even know how many kinds of metallic stuff is released in to atmosphere, and how much of it is inhaled by those poor children who are into the job day in and out.


Why do we burst crackers? To celebrate the triumph of good over evil it seems. But when we are bursting those bombs with so much of poisonous toxins into the air, is any good coming out of such an act? It is only causing harm and pain to others.

The cost of firecrackers , almost 250 crores they say, and the cost of lives of of those children who make them.. http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.299717560057122.89179.199447453417467&type=3..

                            Accident at Sivakasi

There is a campaign http://www.bba.org.in/campaigns/afcc.php, have a look at "Some Heart-Rending facts" to understand the plight.
They say
"Just a couple of days before Diwali, organise a public gathering of like-minded persons to demonstrate symbolic boycott of crackers by immersing them in water. Celebrate Diwali by lighting lamps, not by blasting childhood."

Some people also cared about the unpleasant feelings it causes to old people, pets,and patients,. The question that if it is Diwali, is it necessary to make the loudest noise and show the world we are great, is lurking in their minds.

Many people I talked to agreed , that traditions need to be accepted. But tradition is followed only on convenience. Why not stop this tradition , and light the diyas to feel good?

Why are the bombs that are sold are not levied with max. tax, to keep it beyond the reach of common man?. The units manufacturing those noise bombs and toxic crackers need to pay more tax, and the people need to pay more to buy them. This will prevent massive misuse?

Now festival season starts from Ganesha Chaturthi. The business community goes all out to promote and offer products to sell . The revelers want to maximize their share , by showing off the height of the idols to the time it takes to block the roads , noise pollute and choke the lakes and sea. the eco pollution and time waste is not considered at all, since it is tradition!. Then it is Diwali again , a tradition to fire and blast. Many are in dread of this season!

In a country where the people below poverty line are struggling for one meal a day, is it tradition to make them starve,and, the rest show off? Are there no better ways to celebrate?

What can be role of the Government in this case? 
   The government can   examine , whether the crackers have toxins        that are not good for environment?.
   Why , the bombs that are sold , can not be levied with max. tax, to    keep it beyond the reach of common man?. The units manufacturing those noise bombs and toxic crackers need to pay more tax, and the people need to pay more to buy them. This might prevent massive misuse?
    Can people be not made to understand by publicity that , the tradition of firing loud crackers and polluting the atmosphere need to be changed, and people need to share the joy of festival with those who can not afford celebrate?

And we, the people  can begin with our own homes!


Meanwhile  some answers will be welcome for Girigaru's questions.

All images courtesy Google.


45 comments:

  1. Hi Pattu,
    You've raised pertinent questions in your post.Not that people who matter don't know about the environmental and noise pollution caused by hazardous crackers but it is the lack of will on their part to tackle the grave issues.
    I'm noticing special supplements by newspapers exhorting people to shun bursting ear splitting bombs and celebrate green Diwali. But commercial interests associated with it won't let that happen.
    It is high time Govt. steps in and enact laws with stringent punishment to the violators.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Uppalji.

      I am glad that papers are giving importance to the noise pollution and the environmental pollution. A small step , but a worthy one.

      Hope media too will catch this up , and start pushing for Govt. action( Arnabji....).

      Delete
  2. I totally agree! For me, tradition has nothing to do with bursting crackers which just gives joy. Nowadays I also concern about giving away the crackers and I have long gave up bursting loud crackers and now only the fluorescent drag my attention.

    Thanks for sharing the concerning issues! Wish you very Happy Deepavali :)

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    1. Jeevan, hugs.
      I too am of the same opinion, and my son too is like you. He is against crackers since years.

      Thanks. Pl. post a few pictures of Deepavali in your neighbourhood.

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  3. Another wonderful, beautiful post from you, Pattu. I love it. We need the kind of wisdom that you disseminate in such a self-effacing way.

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    1. Thanks Matheikal. I was away and did not have proper access to the Internet.

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  4. I totally understand what you are saying and accept it too, but call me a hypocrite. I dont do it for religion or anything or any tradition.

    I love fireworks personally and diwali is just a day to burst them , thats all..

    not sure if i am doing the right thing or wrong.

    Bikram's

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    Replies
    1. With U Bikram :)

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    2. Hi Birkramjitji, I understand your point.I too like to watch, colored fireworks.

      I am not saying do not fire, I am only asking is there no alternative? except those ear splitting bombs,and show off crackers at late nights and early mornings, in quiet neighbourhood?

      Delete
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  7. I totally discourage it. Had it been an organized country maybe things would have been different. But the way India is, this 'celebration' turns leaves the whole country in mess - paper, firecrackers remains, smoke. No control over anything - pollution, rubbish, noise. Things go absolutely haywire and the only thought that comes to mind is - Lets run away to Singapore for a short vacation.. Wish we celebrated with pooja and greeting people lovingly.

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    1. Welcome here NS.
      We are one of the oldest civilisations. So it can not be organised. :-)

      All the festivals and celebrations are messy here. Day to day life is messy. But going away is not going to solve this. When we come back, we may feel more upset.

      Hope many young people will start thinking about celebrating with love, sharing and joy.

      Delete
  8. My brother and I for the last 5 years have banned loud firecrackers from our household because my pet dog and my neighbours dogs get terrified. I have read stories that some dogs just collapse of heart failure because they cannot handle such ear-splitting sounds and their ears are so sensitive. We were mostly firing rockets and then we realized we were putting our avian friends at risk. The only solution is to come up with an environmental and pet-friendly fireworks. I am sure we can make a change. Have a happy and safe Deewali to you and your family.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sandeep, I appreciate you and your brother!. This is what happened in my family too. They do fire, but only the colored ones , and no ear splitting stuff.

      Even our dog needs to be protected from those fun loving kids in the neighbourhood. We are earning a bad name, when we admonish them during off-season firing of big bombs.

      Delete
  9. A wonderful post Vetrimagal. Maybe 'Lighting fireworks is hazardous to health' labels be affixed on the fireworks may help? And many more welfare schemes for children be initiated so that their parents dont feel the need to send them to work?

    Shubh Deepavali to you and yours!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks magiceye. Was out of station and could not see the replies nor respond.

      Labels will do nothing if the will power is not there! People are still smoking and eating Gutka,even after viewing those scary visuals during the screening of "Jab tak hai Jaan" :-)

      Welfare schemes will got he same as as the earlier ones went :-)


      Delete
  10. A beautiful post! A cause to think during this festival of lights! You have raised a good question!! Enjoy without disturbing others should be the important theme of every enjoyment... Happy Diwali to you and your family mam :)

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    1. Harikrishna, Welcome here and thanks.

      That is the essence enjoy without disturbing others.

      Delete
  11. In the street that we used to live in Bangalore, nobody used to burst crackers, though we used to gang up together and have sweets and good times. We used to observe Earth day also every year. I think like minded people start practicing this, people will surely follow.

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    1. Hi Meoww, good to see your thoughts.

      Yes, I too was in Bangalore and found in one street all was calm. Some buildings have even banned noiseless crackers too!
      But as Jahid said it was not fun at all. All the kids went to the road ,a and were putting up small fireworks, and were disrupting traffic.

      Delete
  12. Nicely written. The amount of pollution we cause by the bursting of crackers is enormous. I hope we understand the impact and desist from bursting crackers. I have stopped bursting crackers after seeing its impact. I hope others can do that as well.

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    1. Hope so !. I feel we need to write about this every year, before Diwali.:-)

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  13. I am an honest Atheist and don't follow any religion. But some festivals i enjoy a lot which includes Diwali,Eid,Holi,Navratri. Eid i like for the food :) Navratri for the dandiya :) Holi for the color but i don't enjoy much now a days.Diwali for the fireworks and crackers. There's no doubt that fireworks and crackers are a wastage of money and contribute to pollution but the fun part is much more than that. Without fireworks and crackers Diwali will not be that much fun and may die it's charm in a few decades.

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    1. welcome Javid, I agree. It is not much fun. I am not asking for total ban, but only on the noise and scary crackers.

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  14. I am very much for crackers. TDiwali is an earning season for many poor people of our country. Buy crackers to support them. Just ignore the noise and smoke for a couple of days.

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    1. Welcome here Shiju Sugunan. I am not against poor earning. Those poor kids do that , because it is in demand and are slave driven by those enterprenuers, who do not follow laws, and those administration who do not enforce.

      In the long run, they are deprived of their childhood and lives itself. That apart, just because it provides livelihood,can we turn a blind eye on industry which is doing more harm?

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    2. Shijuji, I am not sure those kids and poor get much from the funds we spend on crackers!

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  15. Hi,

    The less said about the regulatory role of the Government, or the people who make kids work, the better.

    It's for us to shut our ears and nose or duck out of sight in those irritating periods.

    I am fortunate to like in Cochin where Diwali is given the cold shoulder.

    Your post raises a lot of relevant questions. Unfortunately, there is no recourse for the sufferers.

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    1. Welcome here Jayadevji. I am glad Kerala it is not celebrated. Atleast some corner of the country is sensible enough. I think, the more citizens voice their displeasure, improvements can be hoped for.

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  16. Such a thoughtful post. It makes us stop and think for a while.
    Happy Diwali to you.

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  17. I think the price rise and the cost of living escalation will help in controlling the fire crackers naturally. As kids if we spent 1500 rupees we could buy the whole shop today if we spend the same money we can just about get enough to last us about 5 minutes of pollution. The quantity of crackers has drastically gone down from the levels it used to be.

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    1. Welcome here Sudeep. True , the quality ahs gone down, but the noise levels seem to be going upwards , and the string bombs are so scary in neighbourhoods. Hope they levy extra tax on those noisy bombs.

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  18. Pattu we seriously need to get out of this habit.In my neighborhood a constant barrage of high voltage sound went on till 2am.People have no civic sense.

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    1. Yes Induji, I sincerely hope, that awareness among young people will put an end to this insensitive noise making that goes on in the form of celebrations.

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  19. A very thoughtful post. You have echoed many thoughts that kind keep criss corssing in my mind every now and then. It seems like as life gets faster and technology progresses people just don't want to care for anything beyond themselves! And the government - well it is just a silent spectator. The leaders of today are not really educated and cannot really seem to think on the lines of global warming, environment friendly or even on humane terms! They seem to be happy as long as their pocket is loaded with some dirty money....

    I stopped using fire crackers when I was in grade 8. The smoke and the noise juts put me off and some how the pollution is just too much...there is trash all over the roads not to mention that the dogs, cats and birds get confused and scared....

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  20. Thanks Muddledup, for echoing my sentiments.

    Welcome to my blog!

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  21. Excellent post ! Something I was thinking during this Diwali when the levels of noise and pollution reached the maximum ! Should we sacrifice environment for tradition.. this thinking should be propagated through schools, so that children themselves tell us not to buy crackers. Raising the cost of crackers might hinder, but you would still find people to make it in the black market.

    -Asha

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    1. Thanks a lot Asha, for the good suggestions. We need to hope that more and more people will understand the implications and stop firing those noisy poisons.

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  22. A very thoughtful post ...as A child I was never excited about Diwali because I could never stand noises of any kind ...and as I grew up my allergic reaction to smoke made it impossible for me to enjoy the crackers .Of course I always light earthen lamps in my house .

    Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion..but how much of the money we spend on crackers actually goes to the children who make them and ironic as it may sound ...how would they feel bursting the crackers...wouldn't they have developed a loathing towards them having spent many hours making them ...

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  23. Welcome here Sridevi.

    Very thoughtful observation. Nothing goes to those children except bare essentials. The parents are desperate, the children helpless,the society exploits in the name of customs.

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  24. Hello Pattu Raj,
    This is completely new thought about Diwali so thank you for sharing it. Though I love the celebration that Diwali entails I started hating loud fire crackers after my dog got a fright and took off that night. We found her (can you believe it) one year later at a completely different location!

    Guess what? You are the proud recipient of the Liebster Award! Your blog has been hand picked among the other few to receive this award, so CONGRATULATIONS!! I know your blog is quite established already. All details about this award is given on my blog at http://frommissindiatomotherhood.blogspot.hk/2013/01/and-liebster-award-goes-too.html so take a look and continue the tradition. Happy writing!

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    1. Thanks a lot Mehroo !. Feels good to receive awards, and it makes blogging a welcome hobby. Love it!

      Delete
  25. Anonymous8:44 PM

    well done I am really impressed from this article one thing I would like to mention here .............a survey taken by an organization in 2013 according to the survey people all around the world spends 1500 crores indian rupees just on fire crackers I think instead of doing this we should go to an orphanage and donate money there ...............I think nothing can be more better than a smile on young childs face................................... GOD LOVE ONLY THOS WHO LOVEIS FELLOWMEN NOT A ONE WHO LOVES HIMSELF

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