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October 10th, 2017

Now about those Diwali fireworks

Back in Delhi after a wonderful week in Hong Kong, I’ve been thinking about fireworks.  As one does.

Firstly, because in Hong Kong we saw THE most fab firework display on 1 October to mark the 68th anniversary of the founding of the PRC, and secondly because, back here in India, Diwali is just around the corner.

And we all know what that means, don’t we?  That Delhi’s already poor air quality will get significantly worse.

Having said that, yesterday the Supreme Court reimposed a ban on the sale of firecrackers.  Just like that.  10 days before Diwali.

Good decision, right?

Well, yes & no.

Yes, because anything, anything at all is welcome, that will help reduce the toxic muck we breathe in this city.

No, because I think it’s a pretty toothless ban.

Here, read what the venerable Times of India had to say this morning on the front page:

“The order, however, does not prohibit bursting of crackers – which means that people with last year’s stock can use firecrackers…The SC order will be difficult to implement, with traders saying that firecrackers from other states will be clandestinely brought in…a similar SC ban last year had also suffered from problems of implementation…”

And there you have it in a nutshell.

As with so many decisions and rulings here, it is all a bit last minute, and – realistically how on earth do you monitor and implement such a ban?

Rather than banning the sale of firecrackers 10 days before Diwali, it would have been much better to have had a vigorous campaign all year, ever since the killer pollution of last Diwali.  By now, many people will have already bought their firecrackers, and the only people who stand to suffer are the traders whose stocks will now be compromised.  I’m quite sure people will still buy, but probably in smaller quantities.

And yes, given that the states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are just a short drive away, all anyone has to do is drive over the state boundary and buy.

So while welcoming any attempt at improving our quality of life here, it saddens me that this is just so muddled.  Way too little way too late.

Yes, for sure, the Diwali fireworks really do stuff up our air here in Delhi, but there are many other causes as well – crop burning across those very same state borders I just mentioned.  It is illegal to burn stubble, but year after year after year it happens.

Dust – oh the dust, the endless dust, from all the building sites and road works and metro construction, dust that choke us all…

So, let’s see.

I hope the pollution decreases somewhat, but I’m not very optimistic.

Neither is The Economic Times. This is a link to their take on the decision.

I suspect the term “firecrackers” doesn’t literally mean just the dreadfully noisy patakas which I, for one, won’t miss at all, but also fireworks in general.

Which means that the night sky will not explode into noise and colour the way it usually does.

And it also means that our annual roof top Diwali party will be a lot less noisy than usual.  Which is good, I know, though also just the weeniest bit sad…

Hong Kong did it right.

One huge, organised, controlled firework display.  Definitely the way to go, but Delhi is a long way from accepting that solution…

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15 comments to Now about those Diwali fireworks

  • Decision is definitely d right one but it should have been done at least month ago not at the business end…

  • Agree. Though it is just a small beginning and we needs to take more such strict steps and before it is too late. Not sure if any political party will think towards this as this will definitely affect their vote bank.

  • Totally agree …farmers sld be helped out to remove all the waste rather burn it …

  • Who will help! The government needs to take responsibility of both educating and providing all financial aid to the farmers.. And it needs to start now for the next year.. This year is gone and another smog filled winter awaits us

  • Adults are trying to defy SC order but most of the kids (including mine) are already away from firecrackers… Seems they are being guided in school..

  • How interesting, Chandra. Gives one hope, if the next generation are thinking like young eco-warriors…

  • Quite, Harvinder. 10 days before Diwali is unfair to all the poor traders, who stand to incur big losses now.

  • If only radical action had been taken this time last year, we’d have had a year of sensitisation & education. But, as per usual, everything is left to the last minute 🙁

  • Ripu, you’re right – it’s not just firecrackers. There has to be a holistic approach, properly planned, to educate those people who still don’t get the killer pollution.

  • acceptance of and compliance to supreme court judgements are the hallmark of a mature democracy. religions need to evolve. religions belong inside homes. the firecracker decision , alongwith dahi-handi and jallikatu decisions of the supreme court are well-intentioned towards pollution control, personal safety and animal cruelty respectively. this also builds grounds for the supreme court to intervene in use of fire-crackers in all religious functions (because of enmasse usage), use of violent and bloody self-mutliations during street processions (like muharram), cruel enmasse animal sacrifices (halal) etc. no harm in also addressing the clogging of river fronts due to durga puja idol submergence and use of incinerators instead of cremations / burials. even though most hindus and sikhs are veering away from firecrackers, the resistance on social media one sees is the unfair persecution the hindu community feels at the hands of the left wing which continuously builds up fake narratives like organised church attacks / beef lynchings.

  • As ever, Vinay, thanks for such thoughtful input. You’re right, of course, about the pollution of our rivers. Do you feel that there is a sense of persecution amongst the Hindu community?

  • Christine Pemberton it’s amazing that even the most literate people don’t get this simple question.. do you want to live for just yourself or would you want to leave our planet inhabitable for our children?

  • india has a long way to go towards true secularism. a hindu speaking for a hindu issue is branded communal, not the other way around. temples are audited, madrassas are given grants. foreign funds for conversion flow in from rome and saudi arabia, but when hindus protest love-jihad (what the British call “Muslim Grooming), it is a sin. hindu marriage bill was passed in 1960s, it is now in 2017 when the triple talaq has been finally banned (the silence of the left was deafening, you did not discuss it either 🙂 ). hindus want a uniform civil code (same rules for everyone), nobody else wants it. terrorism is being driven based on islam (all over the world) but to insist on reforms in islam (like hinduism and christainity have undergone), is to be communal. remote / rare incidents of hindu radicals are played up,the converse hidden(see the data in my page). the “reverse racism” in US and Europe is a by-product of this bias, as is the UK heading towards. Finally, I am a SIKH by birth, half of my clan is muslim, agnostic by religion, centrist by politics – hence the clarity.

  • Vinay, your replies just get more & more fascinating. “Hindus want a uniform civil code…nobody else wants it” – why? I know there is no one-answer-fits-all in Hindusim, as in India, as in any discussion of religion to be honest, but I find this intriguing. You’d better watch out, m’dear, because by posting such reasoned & thought-provoking comments, as you always do, you are leaving yourself open to being more & more nagged by me for your feedback 😛 Thanks SO much, as ever.

  • unifrom civil code aims to make the constitution truely secular i.e. disconnecting religion from governance; this has a major effect on political parties using sops for religious groups to gain their votes. an interseting post on the “sense of persecution” that has developed amongst hindus and which is resulting in more “backlash”…..

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