Yes, No or Maybe…

A few days back both my sons (9 and 6 years old) returned from school and announced that they have taken a pledge of not bursting crackers on Diwali. They had a very serious and ‘we mean business’ look in their eyes. Last year too my elder son kept his word in spite of many temptations from friends and relatives. It’s a commendable achievement and I salute them. But the best part was that they didn’t stop at that. They decided to start a “No Crackers Club” in our apartment. Along with two more friends, they set out for a door to door campaign and got signatures of several residents! I am so proud of these kids. It’s moments like these when I realize that as parents we are doing at least some things right.

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Everyone is aware of the ill effects of bursting crackers… air pollution, noise pollution, child labour that goes into its manufacturing, amount of garbage it generates, accidents, fire incidents, etc. etc. etc. But this post is not about elaborating on these already known facts, but to simply ask a few questions. So here goes:

  1. Why do we still turn blind eyes and deaf ears to all the ill effects? Are we waiting for some kind of a legal ban to make changes? Have we become such an insensitive society that for the sake of momentary pleasure, we justify all the negatives by a one-liner, “Oh come on! this is only for a day and comes once a year?”
  2. I understand that celebrating Diwali the way we do is deeply ingrained in the fiber of our society, but for the larger good, why can’t we make small sacrifices?
  3. Why do we want the whole light and sound package and not be satisfied with the Laxmi Puja, sweets and the lights?
  4. Can’t we just keep all that hard earned money on the road and put them on fire?
  5. If smoking in public places is banned, shouldn’t bursting crackers be banned too as they are equally harmful if not more
  6. Why not organize a music concert with a great laser show instead, at least the noise would be pleasant to the ears.
  7. And finally, if a child can say no to crackers, why can’t we?

So what’s it going to be for you….Yes, No or Maybe?

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3 Comments

  1. I have a different view on the issue. Firstly I do not subscribe to the Puja part in the celebration of Diwali. For me it is the end of the harvest season when farmers get their hard earned money and celebrate an annual event. It is a time of joy and buying new clothes, cleaning the house, beautifying the surroundings, meeting friends and relatives, and sharing the bounties.
    Burning firecrackers is a way of celebration. Instead of everyone burning fire crackers in their own homes if community fire works is organized, it would save a lot of burn incident.
    It would be for a fixed time so the noise would be only for a short time.
    Safety features would be introduced.
    Fellow feeling, sharing in the happiness would increase. There would be no competition amongst people to burn more fire crackers than hi/her neighbor.
    Smoking and fireworks is different. Smoking is very bad and injurious to the health of the person smoking as well as his family. It is not a one time activity. Smoking has to be banned and discouraged. Fireworks is an annual feature and the pollution could be tolerated if held in a common place within a fixed time frame.
    Child labour is not employed only in fire cracker factories. Secondly in the economic circumstances of our country a number of children have to earn for themselves and often for their families. Not allowing them to work in these factories will not improve their life, they will have to find employment elsewhere. Perhaps as domestic help, or in a dhaba or any other place where they will be employed.
    Music concerts cannot replace the beauty of fire works. They are two different genres.
    The beauty and joy of fire crackers can be organized and enjoyed in a proper manner with minimum pollution to the environment as well as noise.

  2. Hi Asmita

    It is a very noble thought but will take a few years to become fully acceptable. Diwali is the only Indian festival which makes me feel lively. I can’t feel the pulse of this festival without crackers. Honestly speaking I can’t do away with bursting crackers completely but this year I have burst 50% of what I did last year. May be in a few years, will be able to achieve the target of 0%.

  3. This is terrific – very proud of my nephews! I agree that besides all the known ill-effects Diwali has become a nuisance for a lot of people (those who don’t want to participate in the cracker madness). We wrote a long letter to our community council today explaining the issues. The US system is pretty good in that there is a great free public fireworks show on a designated time, and after that people can go to secluded marked areas if they still have a strong urge to personally light up stuff. Anybody in violation has to pay severe penalties.

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