I have been anti-firecrackers for nearly two decades. I believe there is more to Diwali than bursting crackers. I tell anyone who cares to listen that crackers are bad for our environment. I am not saying it’s not fun, however the implications – as was evident from the smog Delhi experienced last year – are far too serious.
So given my stand on crackers, I should be happy about the ban SC has declared. ‘It’s what you wanted all along, right?’
I feel that the ban on crackers is a bad idea. I don’t think that imposing such a ban is a step in the right direction. Instead, it is going to antagonise people. It is going to open up unnecessary debates about ‘why my festival’. It makes me extremely sad that educated, thoughtful individuals allow themselves to be polarised so easily. If you are anti-cracker, you are also anti-Hindu; if you want to burst crackers on Diwali, you are a ‘bhakt’. Even though some people would love to make it about religion, it is not.
Yes, this is a change that should not have been imposed on us. After all, each one should have the freedom to practice their religious festivals, right? It would have been ideal if we had recognized how badly our air quality gets affected every single year. It's true that fire crackers are not the only source of air pollution. We need to make other changes too. However, just pointing out that others need to change does not absolve us of our individual responsibilities.
We are bursting at the seams with ever growing population.Crime seems to be out of control. Resources and infrastructure invariably fall short of the need. In such a scenario, it is common sense that we at least change what is within our control. We should have the foresight to curb behaviours that are clearly harming our environment. And each individual needs to make a conscious choice. Pointing fingers is not getting us anywhere.
Pollution is real. It is a problem that needs to be tackled. There will be no tomorrow if we don’t take action today. This change, however, needs to be voluntary.