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Will a ‘Green’ Diwali Ever be Possible?

Diwali is the festival of joy and lights which is celebrated every year in India. Apart from that, some other events occur every year in India too. For the past few years, this cycle of events is certain to take place. Firecrackers are banned in some or all parts of the country, some people celebrate while some people take this as an attack on Hinduism, finally crackers still get burst and cities get covered in a post-apocalypse like smog. And while, things are better than before, they still aren’t ideal. Why is it that even after years of pushing, a green Diwali still remains a distant dream for some of us Indians.

Not Easy for People to Ditch Traditions

Children shopping for crackers with his father | Image taken from Getty Images

Most of us have spent Diwali waiting for when it was time to go get crackers with our parent. We’ve leapt up at the countertop in the shops and asked for just one more Anar or just one more Charkhari. We’ve spent the days before Diwali, crafting bigger bombs from small crackers with our friends. And burnt ourselves with a cracker or a candle. For most of us, these experiences are inherent to Diwali, and it’s difficult to let go. The knowledge that these wholesome traditions have led to the deterioration of our planet is hard to digest. And even more difficult is the knowledge that the next generation won’t be able to experience them. So, we take the easier way out, take the denial route, and continue bursting crackers hoping that we don’t cause much damage.

People Take it as an Attack on Religion

People protesting against the ban on crackers | Image taken from Economic Times

Our country has time and again witnessed everything being given a religious angle, which happens with Diwali too. People argue that why only a Hindu festival is targeted when it comes to bursting crackers, but what they fail to understand is that we live in a Hindu majority country with a festival that’s dedicated solely to bursting crackers. This is unlike any other festival, be it Christmas or New Year’s Eve. A ban on crackers is not against a religion, it is against the depletion of our natural resources.

Leniency by the Authorities

540kg of firecrackers seized at Jorasanko in 2021 | Image taken from Telegraph India

Even though bursting crackers is being banned year since the last few years, but we still see the streets filled with people doing the same every Diwali. This happens because of the leniency showed by the authorities. This leniency is not only demonstrated when it comes to people bursting crackers but also while explaining why one shouldn’t. When you take candy from a child, without explaining why, the child is bound to see candy as something special and not bad. The same happens here, people argue that Diwali isn’t the single reason behind pollution and smog. But fail to understand that it is the one reason we can easily and directly stop, and that crackers also cause noise pollution along with air pollution. This is not their fault though, as the authorities fail to make them understand this.

We need to understand that we can always make new traditions and get new experiences, but we will not get a new planet. They also need to understand or be made to understand how a ban on crackers isn’t an assault on Hinduism, and all the various reasons why bursting crackers is bad. And obviously there needs to be stricter bans and policing when it comes to bursting crackers. One cannot definitely say if a ‘Green’ Diwali is possible or not, but we will be one or three steps closer to achieving it if the aforementioned issues are dealt with.

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