Happy Green Diwali-2020!

Diwali, the biggest festival of India, is a festival of lights, and is traditionally celebrated by lighting rows of earthen lamps or diyas, candles and strip electric lights, in and around homes and buildings. People can celebrate and enjoy in this way even during the worst crisis ever faced by humankind as there are no restrictions on burning oil or electric lamps. In fact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appealed to us to light up diyas just before Lockdown was enforced in March. Lighting up your houses essentially means driving away evil spirits and forces, and hoping for a bright year ahead. Celebrating Diwali this way does not in any way rob you of enjoyment.


Besides, if you’d like to have sweets and distribute those to your neighbors there are no issues either. Sweet shops are open across the country you can even walk down to and buy to your heart’s desire. Various state governments have also announced measures to ensure undiluted sweets for your good health. Then, if you want to buy new clothes there is still no problem. Retail cloth stores, malls and online stores are open across the country and you can buy without taking any risk in terms of wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.


You can also enjoy company online and through video chats/conferences with your dear friends and relatives, and help yourselves by not inviting lots of them to your home. You must check your impulses to go to large gatherings, and instead, enjoy quality times at your homes with your families for whom you always care. You must understand that after long six months the pandemic situation is coming under control, and you should never give away the advantage by your impulsive indiscretion.


And, why at all do you want to burst firecrackers and fireworks? Under normal circumstances bursting of firecrackers and having bouts of fireworks greatly impact pollution, adversely affect the elderly population, particularly with asthma or lung or hearing issues and tremendously harm the street humans and animals. We heartily welcome the preventive measures adopted by the state governments of Rajasthan, West Bengal and Delhi with more states joining in the campaign to have a Diwali totally free of firecrackers and fireworks.


This a festival of lights and not of politics or of a particular religion. Therefore, politicking of any kind in banning fireworks must be avoided by the states. In West Bengal, the High Court had taken the initiative in banning crackers as it had declared all Durga Puja pandals as no-entry zones earlier which most probably prevented an explosion of infections in the state. The state of Karnataka first went for the ban, but then, perhaps political considerations taking over, allowed two-hours of fireworks which is not at all advisable.


The Chief Minister of Maharashtra has been consistently appealing to people to have a green Diwali while the municipal authorities in Mumbai decided to only partially implement a ban by allowing firecrackers of the milder variety and green crackers that are almost smokeless, but such measures cannot ensure full compliance. In Maharashtra Diwali is a five-day event starting today, and therefore preventive measures assume utmost importance here. Most preferably, all states must go for the total ban irrespective of any consideration. People can have a resonant Diwali next year if they comply with the restrictions this year.


The NGT (National Green Tribunal) has done the right thing by imposing a total ban in Delhi NCR region till 30th November 2020, and by ordering all cities to enforce similar bans if the pollution indexes in those are above the moderate levels. Here too, the state governments must cooperate in taking suitable decisions, seriously taking local pollution levels into active consideration and observation. However, a total country-wide ban of firecrackers would be the most needed step at the moment. Under Epidemic Disease Act states are empowered to impose such bans. 


Wish you all a great and fulfilling Happy Green Diwali-2020! 


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