There will never be a silent Deepavali. There are, however, signs that each successive Festival of Lights will be quieter than the previous ones. The early signals in Chennai are that repeated campaigns on a Green Deepavali are paying off and today’s youngsters are less inclined to bursting firecrackers as the only way to celebrate the festival.
“For a long time, school children have had it dinned into them about child labor being involved in producing firecrackers and every year more and more kids are going off fireworks. The campaign for more light than sound is also hitting home, besides the Supreme Court’s well-intended restrictions on hours,” says D Vasanthi, school teacher.
With a Sunday falling two days before Deepavali of the Tamils on Tuesday and Monday also being a government holiday for the festival, the sound levels should have been high already. But Sunday was the quietest day even as the weekend evenings were used by social clubs to celebrate community fireworks that had more sparkle in airborne fireworks than the sound of crackers.
The odd cracker burst greeted citizens on Monday even as they were gearing up to celebrate the eve and the Deepavali morning with the traditional practices plus the firecrackers at the designated hours of 6 to 7 am and 7 to 8 pm. The levels of awareness are growing with kids voluntarily giving up the firecrackers and choosing more fancy fireworks that emit light rather than sound.
Some schools ran pledges at the school assembly on avoiding firecrackers in order not to encourage any use of child labour in the production. The firecrackers market also confirms the trend of fancy crackers built on Chinese models selling more.
The glamorous world of models and aspiring film stars also joined the campaign for quieter celebrations. In a retro fashion show to celebrate the festival, actress Yashika Anand and models Luma and Adarsh said, “Celebrate this Diwali with vogue and lights / flowers / sweets and have a noiseless and less polluted festival.”
The models pointed out that money spent on crackers simply goes up in smoke even as they pledged to celebrate the 2018 festival in style and doing giving to the poor. At the special show, they wore crackers and Vishnu chakrams as ornaments but stressed on enjoying the festival without the big bangs and with just colour and light.
Taking it up as a social responsibility, a stem cell company has put up posters saying how the noise can disturb even unborn babies. An emotional message went out to focus thoughts on caring for the unborn baby and the pregnant women and urging people to restrict use of fireworks and avoid loud noise and air pollution to safeguard them. “Care for the unborn. Let’s not scare them even before they are born,” reads the message from LifeCell.
Meanwhile, the police assured that there would be no coercive measures to keep the firecrackers and fireworks to the restricted hours. It is unlikely they will act unless there are specific complaints about the bursting of crackers proving to be a nuisance to any locality. Chennaiites are happy that the TN government made the point about Deepavali being different from Diwali and insisting on a time being set apart in the mornings too for the celebration in their State....