Diwali – ‘Made in India’
The festival of lights, Diwali, has now become the festival of pollution, discomfort, and lighter pockets. In the last few days, I have talked to so many people, and most of them feel that Diwali is now losing its true meaning. Under the foreign influence, we celebrate Diwali in a very commercial and superficial way. We at ‘Hmm’ decided to address the issue and wanted to suggest ways go back to the traditions and make Diwali a better experience for everyone. Some of the ways to celebrate Diwali – ‘Made in India’ are:
- Ditch: The electric lights.
Alternative: Go for diyas and candles.
Not only will you save on your own expenditure on electricity, you will also support the local Indian artists, who take so much time and put in so much effort to make and decorate the beautiful diyas and candles. Lighting one diya and one candle at a time might be more time-consuming than just plugging in the lights, but it makes you realize how it’s not dark anymore after you light a little candle. In a more philosophical sense, it makes you feel how a little good can change the bad.
If you still want to stick to electric lights for any reasons, make sure that you switch them on only when it gets dark.
- Ditch: The patakas.
With a lot of ‘anti-pataka’ posts circulating over social-media, sometimes you wonder ‘If everybody is so unhappy with the crackers, who are the ones actually bursting them?’ The answer is that they are people amongst us. Some burst crackers in the name of ‘shagun’, some burst crackers to show their ‘paisa’, and others for similar reasons. With the pollution levels in India, already at such high levels, is that really how Diwali should be celebrated? Some of us self-proclaimed animal-lovers have seen how badly crackers affect pets. The noise of the crackers creates so much negativity.
Alternative: Why not go for rangolis and diyas?
If you really want to compete with someone, compete with them in rangolis or diya arrangements. Not only these make less pollution, the personal touch adds to the beauty. And for ‘shagun’, well, the crackers were invented in 7thcentury in China, so there is no way they existed when Ramji returned to Ayodhya.
If a family makes the rangoli and the diya arrangements together, it can provide some good time together and could be a great bonding exercise.
- Ditch: The chocolates.
Now, nothing wrong with chocolates, but if you are celebrating Diwali, the Indian way, why not leave the chocolates for the rest 360 plus days of the year.
Alternative: Go for the Indian sweets.
We have a great variety and great taste here. Prepare at home if you like. Encourage the Indian industry and economy for a couple of days.
- Ditch: The expensive gifts.
In this race to outdo each other, we buy the most expensive and sometimes useless gifts for others. So, the traffic situation gets really bad during the gift distribution day, and we put a lot of pressure on our pocket, which takes a month or two to recover from.
Alternative: Let’s keep it simple. I buy stuff that I need, you buy what you need.
This way everyone gets useful stuff without much pressure on the pocket.
- Ditch: Gambling.
Alternative: Play the game sans the money, if you really want to play. Make good use of the money. Distribute woolens amongst the poor to help them combat the approaching winters.
If we all go back to our roots this Diwali, everything would be so much better. So let’s take this step and do something for the society.
A very Happy and Prosperous Diwali to all our readers!
Originally posted in 2014. Article by Rohini