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Let's Celebrate Diwali Without Hurting the Environment


Recently, Delhi based Director & Cinematographer Gurmeet Sapal and Sehaj Singh followed the recent trend of picture captions to create a “Green Diwali” campaign. Some of the submissions were great advice for celebrating the holiday without hurting the environment, and one common suggestion was to avoid using crackers to celebrate this year:

However, when a community page on Facebook: India Community Digest, shared the sentiment and posted the pictures, their followers were largely opposed to the suggestion. The arguments were all either “They Do It” or “We Have to Do It.

They Do It

A common thread among many of the arguments that were made was that they pointed out something else that others do that also cause environmental damage. This ranged from common things like driving cars, building factories, using crackers for other holidays (new years, independence day,) and the most popular one: Muslims Sacrificing Animals on Eid.

Alternative casualties is a terrible reason not to take action in this instance, when every bit can make a difference. Even one day of extra pollution can make people’s lives miserable by increasing asthma attacks and other allergic reactions. This argument is also one that is often used to avoid taking responsibility for one’s own actions. Someone else doing some bad isn’t a reason to continue doing some bad yourself. You should stop doing it and then also encourage others to stop.

The Eid argument was particularly disconcerting because it shows a fundamental defensive nature that pits Hindus versus Muslims. Someone criticizing Hindus for something does not need to criticize Muslim’s for something as well. Someone criticizing Hindu actions is not always Muslim. And, someone criticizing Hindus is not a supporter of all things Muslim.

We Have to Do It

It is also important to think about what you are sacrificing in order to do good for the environment. Some people claimed it was their religion, I disagree.

People became defensive of their actions and claimed that crackers were fundamental to their celebration of Diwali. That’s just dogmatism talking. These people refuse to think about the connection between Diwali and their faith. There is none that involves fireworks. One person nailed it when she told someone who commented about having to give up their culture that they should celebrate Diwali the way Ayodhya celebrated Ram’s return (Hint: it didn’t involve fireworks).

Another person pointed out that on top of their being no spiritual connection (which something the commentators criticized, sacrificing animals on Eid, does have), there was no traditional connection! Crackers are a Chinese invention that only in the modern age have been used in celebrations. So everyone who thinks that Diwali=Fireworks, need to go back and learn what Diwali is actually about.

Causing noise and air pollution are not fundamental to the way I celebrate Diwali. Diwali for me is about so much more, both spiritually and traditionally. Being with my family, paying respects to my elders, and an overall celebration of, and faith in, the universe’s ability to favor good over evil are what Diwali is about for me. Time and circumstances can change actions, but not the faith involved, and that is all that should matter to people. So this Diwali, vow not to do crackers and use the extra money to buy an extra box of sweets for the family or to feed a family who can’t afford a meal. Because that would be a much better way to celebrate such an auspicious day for Hindus.


It’s time for people to start thinking about their actions from a critical perspective and ditch the nonsensical defensive approach every time someone points out that you should change.

Coming up with a solution that pleases everyone will be hard, but one person offered a happy medium:

A. Prasad: Plastic nuisance, disturbing the animals (and humans too after that heh heh) should be top priorities. Every area, street, corner should have an allotted area to burst crackers (i feel that would take the disturbance level down to almost 80%). Good awareness post

This Diwali, think about the impact of your actions and how important those actions are to the genuine celebration of what Diwali stands for. Change has to start somewhere and what better day to start it than Diwali!

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