Diwali or Kali Puja, which forms a big part of the Indian festive season, has earned the title of ‘Festival of Lights’ indeed centuries ago but it has remained under the radar of the National Green Tribunal(NGT) for the last many years.
In recent times, long arguments and debates were observed on the said topic in the Indian national media, which somehow seems to end up forgettingthe need to have a global awareness on climate change and not selective bans during the festival seasons. However, all the aspects of the firecracker ban on Diwali debate need to be considered with seriousness and we need to revisit and develop our way of representing of issues.
The climate change issue or the issue of global warming is very much real. We may compare the pattern of winters we used to receive earlier to the pattern we have today. Climate change has affected almost the whole of the land mass of the earth, but it has hit the poles of the earth the worst. The loss of habitats is already pushing many animal species to extinction while sea levels are rising alarmingly fast, sometimes even over the course of a couple of years.
However, the selective ban on firecrackers in Diwali, propaganda against the use of colours during the Holi festival, and similar organised demonising of Hindu festivals have deviated the people from their understanding of the original motive of the celebrations and the revelation of hypocritical propagandas further instigates public to burst crackers during the puja. It is almost akin to the psychological ideate of mass delusion – when forbidden or barred from doing something by authority, the respondent entity always seeks to rebel against the voice of authority and to seek justification by enacting that which has been, in this case, ‘banned’.
The burning of firecrackers has not always been a tradition in the Hindu Dharmika traditions. In ancient texts, the use of fireworks have been described as only being part of war operations or of victory processions by kings and emperors. The Indian epics Mahabharata and Ramayana and other similar texts mention this. It has become a part of the celebrations in the last two centuries only. However, attacking the Hindu Dharma and the festival of Diwali in particular for the air pollution, naturally irritates public sentiments.
The need of the hour is to make people realise the seriousness of the pollution caused, putting forward a uniform blueprint for containing the pollution all throughout the year and not for selective activism during Diwali. Also, it is required to explain people in a decent manner as how the firecrackers have not always been the part of Hinduism.
This is howwe can expect for a sustainable survival and also inculcate a shared sense of responsibility for preserving the environment, rather than pushing the responsibility all onHindu festivals only.