As the recent concerns and news of the degrading air quality of Delhi pour in, the residents of the city and the citizens of India harbour diverse opinions regarding the usage of crackers in Diwali celebrations. The controversies surrounding the same have witnessed legal proceedings and injunctions, steering new controversies and concerns as a result.
The Supreme Court’s verdict had reserved a two-hour slot for the burning of crackers across the nation. Withdrawing from its earlier stand on 31st October, the apex court declared the usage of green firecrackers mandatory in the NCR-Delhi region. The Supreme Court’s decision went unheard as there were many who wanted zero restrictions on the burning of firecrackers.
The cities and towns across India indeed turned a deaf ear to the verdict of the apex court. In utter defiance of the verdict, we found crackers being burnt across the nation at every hour. The failure on part of the local authorities in ensuring an absolute adherence to the verdict is noteworthy. The immediate drop in the national capital’s air quality to ‘severe‘ following the Diwali celebrations – reflects the inability on the part of the local community and the concerned authorities in curbing the menace of pollution because of the burning of firecrackers.
While Diwali in Delhi has led to the fall in air quality to ‘severe’, we find the widespread circulation of rants claiming the centrality of crackers in the festival of Diwali. Diwali, for time immemorial, has remained the festival of lights and lamps while crackers seem to be a later interpolation. While diversities in Hinduism are thoroughly acknowledged, with interpolations being widely accepted as integral parts of it, the faith has never hesitated in embracing ‘changes’ or surrendering traditions at the feet of time in accordance to the need of the hour. Further, as the faith that propagates the worship of nature, Hinduism can never really embrace traditions that destroy the environment. While we worship the mighty god Pawan, how can we contribute knowingly to degrading the quality of ‘Pawan’?
It is, thus, the need of the hour for traditionalists and liberals to collaborate. As Diwali will always be the festival of lights, why don’t we embrace the traditional lamps, diyas and candles that also illuminated the homes of our forefathers? With the rapid progress in the manufacturing of Green Crackers, they are expected to hit the markets next Diwali. While the cost-effectiveness of these crackers still stands unclear, let us as responsible citizens take the oath of embracing them for preserving the mighty ‘pawan’ and our mother Earth, both of whom we worship yet hardly care for.