Diwali 2020: Did you burst crackers?
Indigenously known as Deepavali /Deepawali, 'Tis quite simply the festival of lights. It signifies the triumph of good over evil.
All of us Indians have a lot of memories of this festival don't we? The delicious sweets, the lighting of diyas and lamps around the house, families getting together to celebrate, and the iconic firecrackers.
This year there was a common fear going around about how COVID will affect our festivities and joy. But it sure didn't dampen our spirits. All across the nation people celebrated within their homes (with obvious exceptions) and made the most of it.
There was particularly a lot of buzz regarding firecrackers - should it be permitted this year or not. The argument was that it would contribute to major air pollution which would not be ideal especially due to the pandemic. Governments around the country started imposing restrictions.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami imposed timings for bursting firecrackers between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., and between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.
In Delhi/NCR , The National Green Tribunal (NGT) announced a ban on sales and bursting all forms of firecrackers from midnight of November 9 to that of November 30
In Maharashtra , Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray did not impose any ban, but urged people to celebrate Deepavali with ‘self-discipline’
In Madhya Pradesh , Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced that there will be no ban on selling or bursting of firecrackers in the State. However, no “Chinese firecrackers” were allowed.
In Karnataka , there was an initial ban on firecrackers by Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa but then the Karnataka government gave permission to burst green crackers to safeguard COVID-19 patients. He requested that Deepavali be celebrated in a simple manner with eco-friendly firecrackers.
The initial decision to ban crackers was not received lightly. All the people whose livelihood depending on the sale of these crackers, who had spent large amounts of money on mass production would face losses.
The switch was made from ban to green crackers - which would be free of sulphur , lithium, arsenic, barium and lead. They are produced using less harmful raw materials and have properties that reduce emissions by suppressing dust. But we'll never how many shops implemented this.
Many people were against the ban because they said firecrackers were part of a tradition and this was seen as injustice. On the other hand, many got behind the ban because they claimed it was better for the environment and the animals that were at risk for every cracker burst were safer.
I read an interesting article on The Print , about how people trying to moralise this subject is wrong.
Not a moral issue
People tend to moralise policy issues. Lighting firecrackers
is not an immoral act, no more than driving a car or taking a flight is. It is
best to deal with pollution as a practical issue. It is undesirable because
it has negative consequences for air quality and our living environment. The
role of public policy would be to minimise pollution. This is best done by
changing the incentives of polluters, not passing moral judgements on them. Yet
in the popular opposition to Diwali firecrackers, I sense a growing element of
moralising, of judging people who make, sell, and light them.
Converting a debate on policy into one of morality turns it
into a battle between right and wrong, destroys the middle ground and transforms
- Nitin Pai
This is true , nothing can be achieved by hate culture. Instead of understanding another person's point of view, we force our own opinions on people. Crackers have been around for centuries and banning them just one day before festivities was an inconsiderate move regardless of whether you support it or not.
What are your opinions about this subject?