Diwali, the festival of lights is here again. This is the much awaited time of the year when houses, shops, temples, and malls adorn the decorated look, lit up with lanterns, candles, earthen lamps (diya) and electric bulbs. While Diwali is the celebration of “good over evil”, “light over darkness”, “knowledge over ignorance”, and “right over wrong”, the festival has largely come to be equated with the bursting of crackers. So much so that Supreme Court’s ban on crackers in Delhi NCR region in view of the rising pollution levels has drawn a lot of flak, with some people even suggesting the ban as an anti-Hindu decision. Notwithstanding the pollution that follows, people have protested the ban by bursting crackers in front of Supreme Court.
For many people, crackers are a source of joy, and some people believe that loud bursting sounds and lights would ward off and scare evil and notorious spirits away. If this is the case, then I would say that the spirits return the very next day in the form of pollution to harm our environment and our health. In the row over the firecrackers, we also tend to be forgetful of the different ways of celebrations, the myths, legends, beliefs, and festivities associated with Diwali, prevalent among the different communities in different parts of India and in some other countries as well.