I do not remember when did I last buy crackers. It was when I was in standard 5th or 6th. With this calculation, it is probably some 18 to 19 years back. Unlike others in the neighborhood, my brother and I enjoyed lighting Diyas and Candles after the pooja. My brother is two years elder to me and of course the wiser one. He was obviously the first one who deliberately gave up on crackers.
We used to buy crackers from a popular place in Lucknow called Yahiya Ganj. This place was and still is popular, especially for high quality crackers. Once my brother came back home and told me how children of almost our age and even younger are assisting the vendors of these shops. Some of these children had burnt their palms. On being asked they told that they also assist in packing of crackers and that’s when they burn their hands due to excessive contact with explosives. My brother was touched with their story and the sight. When he told me I was equally upset and understood the reason of a few number of crackers, where we used to get bags full. The question that arose in our minds was, “Are we going to enjoy at the cost of the life of these innocents? Do they even get to enjoy one fourth of what we do, despite all the labor they put in?”
That was the year when we decided to give up on crackers.
No media to propagate, no PM to encourage cracker free Diwali back then, but it was a deliberate choice and I am glad I could follow it till date. Today, when I see a lot of debate going on whether one should or one shouldn’t buy crackers, I wish I could share my thoughts too.
Some people debate in its favor affirming that it gives employment to a number of people as it’s a huge industry and trade. But, they do not realize the cost at which it does. We spend thousands on crackers every Diwali only to spread harmless gases and noise in the atmosphere for our momentary pleasure. But, Diwali isn’t about that?
Every year there are accidents that lead to damage and destruction due to unexpected explosions. These massacres are human made unlike the natural disasters that are not under our control. Let’s control what we can!
Diwali is about spreading light, joy and love. It’s about getting together and praying for prosperity and well being of your family and loved ones. Festivals are meant for this purpose. It gives us a reason to celebrate the togetherness and warmth of our family without harming anyone or anything. We cannot get happiness, if we do not care for the happiness and peace of children, families or even animals who get disturbed and devastated with such pollutants. Can we?
I wish one and all a very bright, prosperous and noise free Diwali. I wish for a change that can prove us a sensible and responsible citizen. Let me know if you are there with me in support of noise free, cracker free Diwali.