Diwali: Some things to Ponder

Lokesh, a 16 years old talented singer of Bilaspur, Madhyapradesh lost his hearing power because of a sudden explosion during Diwali leaving his dreams half way. Munni, lost her right palm while playing with the leftovers of Diwali. She had made beautiful clay models and decorated her small hut in a railway siding slum in Nagpur. Kamalesh Singh of Delhi, an honest auto driver, lost his house in a slum fire cause by crackers post Diwali. He was having a family of 8 members who later, preferred the railway platform.

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Photo: Ananta Prasad

True Stories like this will never end, if you start writing about people who are victims of carelessness of few people celebrating Diwali. Here, we are trying to urge the fellow people not to be the reason of somebody’s pain by celebrating Diwali with crackers.

When everyone is mad with the Diwali fever, starting from Social Media updates to grabbing the Diwali discounts to buying the Crackers and family get together, the other side of Diwali is being washed away and many remains victims of it.

Karuna Mehta an environmental activist says, “Firecrackers should be banned as they cause a number of health hazards. People come down with all sorts of respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis. Air and noise pollution are also the side effects of firecrackers that are responsible for various injuries. The smog that is created on Diwali is responsible for a number of accidents due to reduced visibility.”

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Photo : Ananta Prasad

According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a non-profit organization, awareness should be created for the masses. People need to understand that bursting firecrackers is not trendy anymore. It is important for the government to organize anti-firecracker campaigns and discourage people from bursting firecrackers. Parents as well as children should be educated on the harmful effects of firecrackers and environmental laws should be implemented strictly.

Observing that the ‘Right to Sleep’ is a fundamental right, the government of India has banned firecrackers between 10 pm and 6 am, on Diwali. The effect of this ban has been very positive and the sale of firecrackers has considerably gone down.

The Central Pollution Board of India has banned firecrackers with a decibel level of more than 125 at a distance of 4 meters from the bursting point. There has also been a considerable effort to do away with the infamous 1000 chain bombs.

Let each one of us take a pledge this Diwali to say NO to firecrackers and invest in a safer and greener future. Diwali is the festival of lights and we must enlighten our lives with the sparkle of joy and goodwill, forget past grievances and look ahead towards a brighter and happier future.

Lets Pledge for a safe and happy Diwali.. Lets Join Hands and clean our reoads post Diwali.

Join us at bakul Foundation, 16, Satya Nagar, Bhuabneswa on 24th October at 10am. For RSVP call 9937052417.

Lets bring Happiness on Diwali !!!

Treely..

Team Bakul

Story Compiled by Ananta, Volunteer


 VOX-POP

See though their Eyes !!! 

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Aarkaja, Volunteer

I’m not against the celebration as such. We all look forward to festival days. Like holi means festival color and Diwali means sky full of light. It is not a crime to burst a cracker but we need to understand the effect of our action.

Honestly speaking I enjoyed bursting crackers it has its own charm too but certain things that I realised lately altered my definition on Diwali. Two years back I got a new fish tank and filled it with colorful fishes. It was lovely. I live in the top floor of my building yes I get the best view of the surroundings but it has drawbacks too. On Diwali day we all went upstairs to enjoy ourselves. I almost forgot about my shiny friend in my fish tank. When I returned back what I saw is my fish tank filed with 12 dead fishes. It was heartbreaking.

I didn’t realise that being in the top floor the sound was maximum in my house and as a result the delicate creatures stuffed. The very next year I stopped cracker busting. By that time I got a new Pet Puppy. During the Diwali I never knew it would frighten her so much. She was shaking and yelling in a corner. It was another effect a felt. I took precautions for my fishes but didn’t know it would affect my Pet Puppy so much too.

My friend’s sister who is suffering from down syndrome and is mentally challenged suffers a lot due to the sound. She cries and screams throughout the evening. I was shocked, not because I didn’t know this but because I never thought this through. I near thought my enjoyment for few hours will be someone’s nightmare. I’m not saying to stop celebrating the festivals just think it through. Have a stroll in the streets  post Diwali day and see the heavy pollution which is hazardous.

For me enjoying Diwali is with family by eating tasty foods, Cooking new stuffs or planning a family time together as it is always great fun. The very definition of the festival of lights says bringing light but not sending someone into dark.


Kuch Mitha Ho Jaye …

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Partha, Volunteer

My childhood Diwali experience was full of disgrace for not having enough crackers to burn but later, my parents made me realize the unnecessary wastage of money and pollution. Though being demanding I could realize it off late and now I spread the message of safe diwali.

I must say not only pollution rather birds like pigeons also die because of their soft heart who can’t bear heavy sounds. Simply speaking the conventional Diwali we are celebrating now creates sound, air , noise pollution, affects animals birds, wastage of money and finally it creates garbage.

I do help my mother lightning diya and like seeing her face through lights, what can be a better celebration other than this. Yes i do eat loads of sweet and my Diwali goes with lots of sweetness within.


Diwali in my Style 🙂

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Anannya, Volunteer

Four years ago during this time of the year I took an informed choice; not to fire crackers. Of course my buddies found it ridiculous. Well, my decision stemmed from the fact that every year the planet’s temp is rising. The atmosphere is getting polluted day by day with poisonous gasses. Bronchitis, Nausea, Lungs Cancer are few diseases that are the result of polluted air we take in.

The fire works making industry employs poor children whose life is at stake. Secondly, are we planting enough trees to counteract the amount of pollution we create every year. Obviously No. With this in mind I decided to celebrate Diwali in my own way. Rangolis, floating candles, flower patterns, pastries, gulab jamuns are things I greet my Diwali with. I believe we do not need to preach people, just educate them. At the end of the day it’s a simple choice that the individual makes.


Diwali means indian pollution day

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Manyapu Vivek 

Until 2008, I loved fire and I loved to burn all types of crackers, specially the dangerous ones. My father got learnt all skills from my grandfather about making of almost all types of crackers. We all used to spend our Dussehra holidays in my native i.e. Srikakulam, A.P. and from there, daddy bought the required materials for cracker making. After returning home we all sit together and help daddy in making crackers.

But one day I asked amma (Mom), why we actually celebrate Diwali. She narrated the mythological story of Ramchandra’s victory over Ravan and Satyabhama killing Narakasur which ultimately means victory of lights over darkness. Daddy replied, it’s for our enjoyment only. Then I thought, what a kind of species we humans are, just for our sake of enjoyment we are killing other innocent plants and animals, and ultimately kicking our Mother Nature into death.

I also heard from my father that, many people in the streets compete with each other in burning the crackers. My blood boiled high. Our Mother Earth is dying and people are celebrating without any care. I even asked few of my friends not to burn crackers, but the replied making a joke of me that how we can stop burning, it comes once in a year only, and it’s a tradition.

I was feeling helpless but I determinately stopped celebrating Diwali from 28th October, 2008 and started calling this day as Indian Pollution Day. I made up my mind to never burn crackers even in functions/marriages. I like to see movies using earphones that day to get rid of the noise. The boy, who once loved fire and crackers so much, now hates them to the extremes.


Manmade Disaster !!!

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Ananta Prasad, Volunteer:

When i was in graduation, there was a kid (dwarf) staying in my neighbour house who had this phobia for heavy sounds. One marriage procession was going with lots of crackers having heavy noise and next day that kid was hospitalised. This was the other reason which kept me away from celebrating Diwali with crackers since my childhood.

When i think of my experience with Diwali, i remember, it was 7th November 1999 and i was in Jagatsinghpur which was completely devastated due to Super Cyclone. For the first time i had seen no happiness for a festival like Diwali. Children were crying not for crackers but for the basic needs which were completely washed away in the man-eating cyclone. I was returning from Jagatsinghpur to Puri crossing Cuttack and Bhubaneswar and had experienced the sudden change of emotions and people celebrating and burning crackers all through the roads and on high way. That was one of the reasons i left celebrating Diwali without crackers.

Last year when the whole country was celebrating Diwali the festival of lights, many houses were in dark in Berhampur due to Cyclone Phailin. I have faced so much of darkness of people now, the festival of lights which is more of symbolic seems meaningless.

But the most annoying thing that i have realised always seeing the leftovers of Diwali post the festival and which is harmful. Diwali in many places and in major cities have caused massive fire in slums and villages so for me the massive use of crackers and that to without any precaution is just a manmade disaster.


Interesting Facts & Trivia About Diwali

  • Diwali is the largest and most famous holiday celebrated in India. It marks the Hindu New Year.
  • In Northern India, with the diminishing use of Sanskrit, the word ‘Deepavali’ got contracted to Diwali.
  • Diwali is generally associated with the worship of Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of wealth and prosperity.
  • Diwali is celebrated over a period of five days beginning in late Ashwin and ending in early Kartik.
  • In South India, Diwali is referred to as ‘Deepavali’ while Narakasura Vadha is the main celebration day.
  • In Hinduism, Diwali is celebrated to mark the return of Lord Rama after a 14 year exile according to North Indian traditions but down south, the death of the evil Narakasura at the hands of Lord Krishna is the main reason behind celebrating Diwali.
  • In Malaysia, Diwali is celebrated as ‘Hari Diwali’ in the month of Aswayuja. It is a national public holiday in Malaysia.
  • Diwali is also celebrated in Nepal and is referred to as ‘Tihar’ or ‘Swanti’. On the fourth day, the Hindu God of death, Yama is worshipped for a longer life of the people.
  • Diwali is celebrated as ‘Kali Puja’ in West Bengal by worshipping Goddess Kali.
  • Diwali is one of the oldest rituals for Kashmiri Pundits. There is mention of Diwali celebrations in the Nilmat Puran, and is referred to as ‘Sukhssuptika’ which literally means ‘to sleep with happiness’.
  • Diwali celebrations in Orissa have a unique traditional practice of calling upon the spirits of their dead ancestors. They burn jute stems to shed light on the dark path of the spirits on their way to heaven.
  • Gambling during Diwali is believed to bring good luck and prosperity in the year ahead.
  • Diwali marks the end of the harvest season and the onset of winter. Farmers thank the deities for the harvest they had and pray for a prosperous harvesting season in the upcoming year.
  • Diwali is also a significant festival for the Sikhs since 1577 as the foundation stone of the Golden Temple was laid on the day of Diwali.
  • The business community celebrates Diwali by opening new accounting books. Diwali marks the beginning of the new financial year; hence, traders and businessman start it by offering prayers to Lord Ganesha.
  • Lord Mahavira attained his Moksha or Nirvana on the day of Diwali, and so the Jain community in India celebrates the next day of Diwali as New Year’s Day.
  • “Shubh Deepavali” is a customary greeting associated with Diwali, which literally means “Have an auspicious Diwali”.

REFERENCE:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Diwali-Crackers-can-scare-stress-your-pet-dog/articleshow/17187425.cms

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/Cracker-fumes-hazardous-for-asthma-bronchitis-patients/articleshow/25014256.cms

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