By Ashu Arora:
This year, just like every year during Diwali, many people burnt a lot of crackers. While others did not. Many NGOs and social activists cried out about the harm caused to the environment, the emission of CO2 and the death of animals. Many say that Diwali is a waste of money and is very harmful to the environment and animals.
We must not get confused with the festival of Diwali and burning crackers. Diwali is the celebration of Lord Ram’s return to his homeland Ayodhya. It takes place right after the festival of Dhanteras in which people buy new utensils, as it is said to bring prosperity and happiness inside their homes. After two days of Diwali, a festival called Bhai Dooj is also celebrated. Diwali is the festival where you get together with your family and friends. It relaxes you from the hustle and bustle of your daily life.
Now, let’s talk about crackers. Crackers are burnt to show our happiness. Crackers are also burnt when the Indian cricket team wins a match. They are also burnt in marriages and similar functions. It’s also burnt during the new year, which is celebrated with alacrity.
There are so many instances when we burn crackers apart from Diwali. Now, let’s talk about the harm crackers cause to animals. Yes, they get disturbed with the loud noise of crackers and many die as well. Yet, connecting this directly to Diwali is not appropriate as there are many other festivals in which animals are sacrificed. Hence, there is no direct link between Diwali and the harm caused to animals. People sometimes forget that their expression of happiness through bursting crackers is causing harm to others and the environment as well.
Diwali has always been my favourite festival because it is blissful and makes me happy as all family members get together. Friends gone away for higher studies come back home for the holidays. We all have a good time together. These are the reasons for which I like Diwali. I haven’t burnt crackers for the past 10-12 years. Even prior to that, I used to burn crackers very less. None of my family members burn crackers and Diwali is still our favourite festival.
We can celebrate Diwali without crackers as well. We may not be able to stop everyone. The least we can do is convince members of our family from doing so. At the same time, we must respect the festival, irrespective of our religion and race. Similarly, we should respect the festivals of other religions as well. Whenever we find that some things are inappropriate and harmful, we must raise our voice against it. But that objection should not result in undermining the entire festival. Instead, it must be to eradicate the false and bogus practices.