Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Why the needless damage ??

Image source : toondo

The festive season is upon us, Indians in India and around the world are celebrating one of their biggest festivals... Diwali ! Happy Diwali to all my blog friends around the world !!
I've mentioned before on the blog, that I'm not much of a religious person, so for me festivals don't have a high religious significance, however that does not mean I don't celebrate them, I love celebrating any ocassion, big or small and festivals are no different. I love to celebrate them, including diwali and enjoy the festivities associated with it .

I enjoy almost all the aspects associated with celebration festivals like diwali, like the food, new clothes, new jewellery, sweets, gifts, diyas, rangoli, etc etc....however there's a big part of the diwali celebrations that I'm not a huge fan of, and in fact would like to see go away and that is the bursting crackers part .
For many people Diwali is incomplete without bursting crackers, while I understand that this is the main festival where crackers are burst, but I'm unable to understand, why they are needed for a festival of lights.
My specific bone of contention is with crackers that make loud noises , like mini bombs etc. They are the worst kind of crackers anyone can ever think of, and I fail to see what's festive about them.
I can enjoy the fountain or the chakra type of crackers or even a fulzhadi is okay, but why the loud, thundering, deafening bombs, what celebration do they help ???

Lately I find the noise level to have reached unbelievable proportions , it has definitely crossed the line from just a celebration to the nuisance of noise pollution . During diwali the bursting starts very early in the morning and goes on way into the night, giving very little respite from the deafening sounds.

The WHO ( World Health Organization) describes the impact of noise pollution as;
Annoyance, stress, high blood pressure, sleep loss, inability to concentrate, inability to learn, heart attacks, strokes, loss of productivity, etc. Fetuses and newborns are most affected and may lose hearing!

Aren't the above reasons, good enough for us to limit or moderate our cracker bursting levels ?? Would the diwali be any less festive without some deafening and dangerous bombs ?? There's no consideration for the elderly or the sick or a newborn who may be affected by such vulgar use of these crackers.

Apart from the problem of noise pollution is also the problem of air pollution that is caused by huge quantity of crackers that are burst duirng diwali, at times the air gets so thick with smoke from the crackers that it's nearly impossible to see beyond a few feet.
Is all this damage necessary to fully enjoy a festival ??? Many of these crackers are extremely dangerous and many a times are handled by children resulting in unnecessary and completely avoidable accidents, Why all this needless damage, to our surroundings, our bodies, mother nature and our children ?? Can't we find a better, less damaging way to celebrate diwali and still express our joy??? Why does a festival wish need to be accompanied with safe ?? as in 'Have a safe and happy diwali ' , isn't this an indication that things have gone too far in the wrong direction ??

Even beyond diwali, I find that many other Indian festivals we do tend to cause a lot of needless damage. During Ganeshotsav and durga puja it is the water pollution cause due to the immersion of the idols into our precious water resources, during holi it is the damage to our surroundings with stains of colors that sometimes stay for years to come, and also the wastage of wood, to burn the holika. I can go on, but I'll leave it at that. I think we can all see many such examples of needless damage to resources and nature around us in many of our celebrations. 

I dunno, if any of this needless damage will ever be reduced or minimized, but I'm sure that if we all make a conscious effort towards making small and effective changes in the way that we choose to celebrate our festivals going forward, it will certainly be a step in the right direction.
I wish you all a happy, bright a prosperous diwali, and be sure to stay safe !!


  1. It's interesting how Diwali has changed in recent years. When I was a kid Diwali was huge. Everyone - you, your friends, your parents, their bosses, their friends, your maid, her children - everyone was a part of your celebration. Everyone was supposed to wear new clothes, supposed to offer homemade or store-bought sweets to all relatives one spoke to, eat the same "karanji" a million times, every time you visited someone during or after Diwali ;) The streets would be littered with the little paper leftovers from the fire crackers that had been burt the last night. Loud firecrackers would wake you up in the morning, and colorful ones would keep you awake at night. You could essentially smell Diwali, it was the smell of marigolds, firecrackers and deep-friend sweets.

    All in all, it was LOUD. And I hate noise, even the intercom can leave my heart palpitating. It was UNHEALTHY. I was never a big fan of all the over-sweet deep-fried sweets. And I hate it when people force me to eat. It was MESSY. I do not like people littering my streets, no sir! So the question is, Why do I miss it ?

    I am not religious. So Diwali for me really wasn't about praying to God, or Ram or any other deity. It was about all these things that were essentially obnoxious.

    Why do I miss the obnoxiousness of Diwali ?

  2. Happy Diwali to you & your family :) ... I'm going to save my rant about the commercialization of Indian festivals for another time. Hope you had a wonderful day!


  3. Nice post. Of late, I am seeing a lot of articles, tweets etc on pollution from the celebrations. I am not in India right now. But going by what I see online, no one is listening. :(

  4. ya all the wastage, pollution and damage in the name of God...
    hope u & ur family had a nice Diwali :) :)

  5. happy Diwali to you too, and I completely agree with you on the firecrackers, I'm not a huge fan myself, the festival of light has become the festival of noise...ugh!

    When my DD was 3 months old we were fearing the crackers, and our obnoxious neighbour was the king at purchasing bombs by the truck load, bursting them all 5 days from dawn to 11pm, we asked him to at least limit his crackers to a few hours a day, he told us don't worry I didn't buy loud one, but sure enough we could not even talk to each other in my house for 5 days, on diwali night he burst about 10 of these long 60 meter long chains of red crackers, seeing where it was going we headed out to a nice restaurant in town to spare our ears and Ishita's ears, by the end of the 5 days we were aggressive irritated, and coughing from the smoke!
    This year we were in Lucknow, and in my in-laws neighbourhood it's mostly done ont he first day, it's manageable, but we got back last night in Mumbai and this morning sure enough some kids had leftovers bombs, deafening us bursting them one after the other at 10am, in the center of a cluster of tall building, I let you imagine the amplification of the noise...grrrr

    The other thing that baffles DH and I is the amount of money some people waste on crackers, a few colorful one to celebrate fine, but how is it spending 20=30k on crackers going to bring prosperity for the year to come...I have a much much better use for that kind of money really.

  6. A - I hope you had a great Diwali! After I read this, I brought it up with my husband who spent the better part of last week bemoaning the fact that he was here and not there and would not be shooting off fireworks. Maybe it's a boy thing. We used to shoot firecrackers in the street on July 4 when I was a kid, but by the time I was 10 or so that became illegal. Honestly, I think one really good professional display beats the pants off a bunch of quick, noisy blasts in the street.

  7. Yeah, it seems we are getting lesser and lesser environment friendly when the need is much higher. When I was a kid a box of flower pots was precious, we would just buy one so you had to relish it. Today people buy as many as they want... the idea of the more the better has really settled in.

  8. the noises troubled our baby so i understand what's wrong with it :)

  9. Ugh, I totally agree with this. I am dismayed by the amount of noise and mess, but it's "okay because it's a religious occasion". I think there was a small improvement in Mumbai this year after a big awareness campaign to cut back on noisy crackers. However, despite the fact that I live in a good neighbourhood, every year, the same obnoxious boy persists on lighting bomb crackers in the courtyard right outside everyone's windows. I would love to have a word with the adult giving them to him, but I know the response I'll get: it's not my place to interfere in such an occasion because I'm not Indian. Sigh.

  10. Agree with you AAD. We talk of high profile workshops on pollution etc, yet when it comes to celebration, forget everything else and start polluting left right and centre. But here in my city this Diwali has seen some wonderful change. I can proudly say that the noise was less than half of what it used to be the previous years, actually it has been gradually reducing. More than us grown ups,the children of today seem to be aware of pollution.
    A very nice and thought provoking post.

  11. Nice post, things explained in details. Thank You.


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