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Friday, Nov 20, 2020 12:30 [IST]

Last Update: Friday, Nov 20, 2020 06:59 [IST]

Why do People Burst Firecrackers?

Bang Bang Gang

JIWANRAI

 

Our civilizational journey has brought us to a point where we have been awakened to see many self-inflicted pains. One such awakening has been in response to the pollution that we have caused through our so-called progressive and careless lifestyle. The reality of our ever escalating pollution problem has been hounding us inescapably. For India, the birthplace of Hinduism, tostart banning the use of firecrackers in Diwali – one of the grandest Hindu festivals, says it all.

 

Sikkim had banned the sale and use of firecrackers way back in 2014 under the SDF government. However, that the ban lost its relevance after the loss of the SDF party in the 2019 election could be construed from the fact that their defeat was celebrated with a massive use of firecrackers statewide, mostly in urban areas. From then on, firecrackers have made their way back into Sikkim life.Embarrassingly enough, Gandhi Marg, arguably the cleanest and most famous public square in the state has not been spared. Apparently, firecracker lovers in Sikkim are not going to comply with the ban anytime soon.  The SKM government has now realized the need to bring the ban into effect. Interestingly, they issued an order of banning fire crackers in Sikkim during Diwali under section 522 (2) (h) of the Disaster Management Act 2005. This goes to show that the 2014 ban no longer stands valid.

Did the Sikkimese people honour the government order this Diwali? People’s reaction was divided but the ban failed to serve its purpose.The Bang Bang Gang was back on the scene in its best form, big time. Sikkim’s quiet hills were shaken by the loud noise of crackers blowing the priceless tranquility of the Himalayan state to smithereens. The people’s frustration over the widespread use of firecrackers was writ large on social media. I do not claim to be omniscient to know people’s mind. However, here are some of my conjectures as to why people so pitilessly disregarded the government order to burst crackers.

One, bursting crackers are a public announcement of personal joy by miserable attention seekers. “Hey folks, can you hear the sound of my happiness? I am having great fun. What about you?” Some fellow beings are so self-centered that all that matters to them is them and their fun. Apparently, their life is so misery-stricken that the little semblance of joy that they taste occasionally must compulsorily be announced in public. So they feel. And hence the obnoxious announcement of joy through firecrackers.

Two, they are an expression of (notional) machoism by insecure namby-pamby fellows. They know that producing a sound larger than they themselves can tolerate is gallantry. Look at their facial expressions as they ignite firecrackers. They look like a cat on a hot tin roof. And then look at their celebration after they burst. It looks as if they have just won a battle for India against Pakistan in Kashmir.

Three, firecrackers are a sheer political statement by political fanatics. As I mentioned earlier, post 2019, many were bursting crackers to show their utter defiance and resentment against the former government because the ban was implemented by that government. Now some who defy and resent this government are probably doingthe exact same thing. What better behaviour can we expect from political bigots driven by hatred and anger?

Four, they are an expression of religious devotion by some innocent and some fanatic religionists. Some think that the ban of the use of firecrackers during Diwali is an attempt to belittle Hinduism. They argue that pollution is just an excuse and pollution control needs an all rounded and well thought through strategy.

With due respect to the religious sentiments of these devotees, there is nothing to lose in making Diwali safer, cleaner and green. What better occasion to generate public awareness about air pollution than a festival such as this where light overcomes darkness! That way, you can both have the cake and eat it too. In a historic sense, firecrackers have nothing whatsoever to do with Diwali. Gunpowder was first discovered in China. In India, fireworks were probably initially used by Muslim royalties. Burning Diyas (light) is altogether different which coheres with the theme of Diwali. It is relatively safer for people as well. 

Five, firecrackers are burst due to the blind emulation of minors. I watch with a lump in my throat,young children running around with firecrackers in their hands. What kind of parent allow their young children to literally ‘play with fire’! Some children do it with adults without their parents knowing. How safe are these children in the hands of these reckless adults? Look at the statistics and you will see how many innocent victims including children have perished due to the careless, unregulated use of firecrackers.

Finally, the use of crackers epitomizes the “me-age generation” telling the world that they will do what they want when they want and how they want.They are not driven by political, religious or any collectivist interest. They are solidly standing for their anarchist individualist interests. The famous line of these pampered children of post-modernism is, “Don’t tell me what I should or shouldn’t do.” All of us have that proclivity to ignore the world and do what we feel is best ‘for me’. But self-fulfillment at the expense of others is a social crime. We can assert our self-interest in umpteen other ways. Among other things, the flippancy of such people finds a thundering expression in the mindless noise of crackers bursting. Dogs, the creatures many supercilious humans consider to be just lowly animals, understand all these things - but not humans.

“Some fellow beings are so self-centered that all that matters to them is them and their fun. Apparently, their life is so misery-stricken that the little semblance of joy that they taste occasionally must compulsorily be announced in public. So they feel. And hence the obnoxious announcement of joy through firecrackers.”

jiwanr@gamil.com

 

 

 

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi