Diwali Beyond Fireworks

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Diwali is known as the festival of lights and was traditionally celebrated by the distribution of sweets and gifts to love ones, decorating one’s home, lighting earthen diyas  and going to the temple for prayers. Today though, Diwali involves the bursting of fireworks. Though fireworks are a form of enjoyment for everyone during Diwali, with everyone young or old getting involved in bursting them, no one thinks of the negative consequences of them.

The loud noise of a fire cracker bursting is one that excites most of us, but causes harm to others. Young babies and the elderly are mostly those who are affected, but unknowingly you are spoiling your hearing as well. Fireworks can create up to 180 decibels of noise, and noise above 85 decibels can damage ones hearing. Diwali can be a nightmare for dogs and other animals who get scared of loud sounds; dogs can hear 4 times more than us, imagine the pain and agony they go through at the expense of our enjoyment.

Another negative externality that fireworks are known for is air pollution. It is said that pollution levels go up by 30%, during Diwali, in some parts of India. Firecrackers also contain metals that are harmful to the human body.

Taking into account all the dangerous chemicals that fireworks contain, it is also important to note that that these fireworks and firecrackers are mostly handmade. Those that even make these fireworks are mostly the less fortunate children in India and China, it is estimated that more than 80 million children work in this industry around the world. Asthma and TB is prevalent amongst 90% of these children, as they are involved in the gun powder filling and are directly in contact with the chemical ingredients within the firecrackers. So when you are buying fireworks, you are indirectly contributing to child labour.

We are the educated ‘part’ of society and yet we still contribute to such practices. Buying firecrackers is also an utter waste of money. It is learned that the cracker producing units have supplied fireworks worth Rupees. 2200 crore to the entire India itself for Diwali celebrations, that is a staggering thirty-three billion two hundred and twenty million Kenyan shillings.

Not only are we wasting money but destroying the environment too. It is clear that now days Diwali is not just the simple celebration of the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness, rather it has become a show of who has the better firework displays.

Many might argue that bursting fire crackers brings together families as it is a fun activity. However, family bonding can be done over other things as well for example, why not make the decoration of the house a family activity?

There are so many other ways to celebrate Diwali. Light up your homes (diyas, candles), meet people (spend it in an orphanage or old age home), make your own sweets and distribute, play with your little ones, plant trees (buy house plants) and visit a place of worship.

So this year and the years to come, let us all come together and celebrate Diwali in a way which does not involve the bursting of fire crackers. Let’s do our own bit to save us, the earth and our money. This Diwali let us avoid the unnecessary expenditure, the smoke, the noise, the garbage, injuries and the pollution; because there is more to the festival of light than just bursting of fireworks. Let us celebrate this Diwali with harmony, friendship, love, light, life and by giving.

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Diyas

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So this is an article that I have meaning to post for a while now, especially before Diwali, but I didn’t think it would be right till I actually saw it in print. This article was published in the newspaper/ magazine where I did my internship and I received the copy today morning. If you want to see more of my work and that of many others about Diwali, especially if you celebrate Diwali in any way or want to know more about the festival then head over to http://www.theasianweekly.net/web/ . Do this before the end of the week or the magazine will be replaced my next weeks normal edition. This is a topic I feel very deeply about especially after writing this article; it has inspired me to never burst the huge fireworks that I usually do. And if you did engage in the bursting of loud and big fireworks I hop this inspires you to not do so next year, and the years that follow. 

Please note that this is the exact replica of what was in print hence the conflict in wordpress audience and the one I was actually supposed to aim for.

I have also come up with a new way in which I can present extremely short stories. By extremely short I mean, they are only about ten lines or a couple of phrases (those of you who follow my Instagram page know what I am talking about). So the Halloween one goes up tomorrow and yes I know Halloween was today but I was so busy celebrating Diwali and the Hindu new year. So please bare with me a little :).

Also those that have nominated me for the three quotes challenge thank you so much and I am so honoured. But I will not be able to do it because I am so busy with school as this my final year and a very crucial year for me, so I am so sorry :(. As my followers have even noticed I barely post any thing now days :/.

     -Sonaili

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