Behind every celebration there are million tears and countless labour that makes the celebration possible, says environmentalist G Sundarrajan
Why do we need eco-friendly Diwali?
Festival of lights and so they say.
But does Diwali really brings light and shine to every life?
Behind every cracker burst, is the untold sorrow of a family that has toiled for days to bring them to you.
Behind every celebration, there are million tears and countless labour that makes the celebration possible.
I never remember bursting crackers on Diwali and for several years, I was too embarrassed to see the long-drawn faces of my kids -- still in their pre-teens. They had to sacrifice their celebrations for their environmentalist father even as the neighbourhood wore the colour and mood.
One day, on Diwali, I decided to take my kids around my neighbourhood.
We slowly walked through every street, every road in our neighborhood.
We sheared through the smoke, the lights, the festivity and the colour. For my kids, it was a travel through self-discovery.
The robust dogs, the sight of whom excited my kids, were seen curling in fear.
The cats that brought merry to the streets were not to be seen anywhere.
Even otherwise the streets were deserted.
The thick smoke and fire made visibility impossible and people (except for those bursting crackers) chose to remain indoors and lose themselves in special television programmes.
After the walk, I sat my kids down and spoke of children like them in Sivakasi who were denied the luxury of bursting crackers but had to produce it.
I promised I would take them to Sivakasi next time when we visit our native place in Tirunelveli.
I spoke to them about children who cannot afford new clothes and even on Diwali day line up reluctantly on platform shops softly feeling the new clothes with their fragile hands.
Today, my children are not sad about not bursting crackers.
But they still celebrate Diwali.
They wake up early and visit their grand-aunt where all their cousins come together and have their share of fun.
They still walk round the streets and share a smile with the kids of their age.
Before we go berserk in celebrations, let’s hold on for a moment, step back and think of those who cannot. Lets think ahead of the noise and air pollution that Diwali will gift us.
This Diwali let us light up a smile not a cracker.
The author represents an environmental movement called Poovulagin Nanbargal in Tamil Nadu