Deepavali: Littering literati
Editorial

Deepavali: Littering literati

October 14, 2017

Next week witnesses India’s biggest festival, Deepavali, the annual event engaging, unarguably, the greatest number of revellers across the land for any festival celebrated with fervour — louder the celebration, deeper the fervour. While the festival of Ganesh Chathurti, celebrated in the month of Bhaadrapada, sees in action the participation of a major portion of the land’s diaspora, the Festival of Lights scores higher given not only a far greater number enjoying on the occasion but also a wider cross-section of society, irrespective of the yawning economic differences among the people. The origins of the festival, as narrated in the land’s ancient texts, referring to the wish of a condemned demon to rejoice on earth for just a day in a year may be lost on the present generation, more focused on firing firecrackers apart from unbridled bonhomie.

The unmistakable gains from the time-honoured festival of lights are a) Tidy income to traders selling plethora of festival-related articles and b) Livelihood to lakhs of workers producing the fireworks, estimated to be 5,000 crore rupees worth, if not more. In this backdrop, the administration finds itself on the high horns of a dilemma in the matter of passing laws concerning the hard-to-check practice of letting off sparklers and fire-crackers in the open.

Both the outlook of people to the land’s festivals in general, including Deepavali, particularly their spiritual component and also the manner of their celebration, in the confines of homes as well as on public platforms, have undergone a sea-change. Only the steadily shrinking number of tradition-bound families still comply with the customs of worshipping while the rest of the land’s mass make a beeline to the market place stocked with the ammunition. In accordance with the well-known national characteristic of not complying with the advisory of dos and don’ts promptly and widely publicised by the administration, to ensure avoidance of undesirable consequences, the masses cannot be stopped from going berserk with loud-decibel celebrations.

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The Supreme Court’s diktat issued early this week banning sale of firecrackers in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Delhi has already drawn flak from the lobby of traders. The stock of fire-works already in the custody of the masses may well throw up millions of littering literati as it were all over the land.

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