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Diwali isn’t a platform for debate

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The biggest Hindu festival of Deepavali has been under constant attack from woke intellectuals, Islamists, and pseudo-environmentalists for the past few years. It saddens and hurts that being in India, we now have to defend our festivals and plead to administrations, courts, and NGOs for ‘permissions’ to celebrate. It’s shameful that the so-called celebrities and influencers who are worshiped by millions, especially youngsters, have resorted to ‘evaluating’ Deepavali on merits of their own design.

Diwali greetings now begin with sermons on saving the environment as if a single festival is the cause of all evil on the Earth. No science, logic, or statistics have proved that our celebrations cause any harm to the environment any more than any other festivities. However, it is regrettable that we have to now ‘prove’ and ‘beg’ for the mercy of those who have no business lecturing others. Political propagandists, paid social media influencers, religious bigots, foreign funded NGOs, and sold out journalists earn their bread and butter by exaggerating non- issues to mock and derail the culture of the majority community in the country.

How Economic Times vilifies Diwali (Source: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/festival-of-fats-from-diyas-to-deep-fried-delicacies-diwali-is-a-celebration-of-oil/articleshow/79108689.cms)

While the ‘bloody’ Bakra Eid is greeted with a gracious ‘Eid Mubarak’ and Christmas a mere ‘Merry Christmas’, Diwali has to be preceded with advisory on making it safe, green, and healthy. The terror unleashed on roads during Muharram goes unseen like how the actual bombs and human bombs are easily forgotten. But educated modern liberals find it very easy to preach about the ghastly and fatal effects of sutli bombs and phuljhadi.

Compare and contrast how ThePrint publishes the greetings for two different festivals (Source: https://theprint.in/in-pictures/delhi-markets-abuzz-with-diwali-shoppers-as-covid-fails-to-dampen-festive-spirit/543418/ and https://theprint.in/opinion/pov/eid-2020-comes-after-a-ramzan-that-tested-not-just-indian-muslims-faith-but-also-patience/427854/)

Slowly and steadily narratives are spread to create a social stigma around Diwali and fill the minds of children and youngsters against their own culture. So-called progressive and inclusive media outlets like TheWire, ThePrint, and others of the like suddenly start publishing articles about the ‘unhealthy effects of Diwali sweets’, the ‘absurdity of spending on Dhanteras’, ‘the plight of Maa Sita’ – all in the months of October and November. Years ago I read a disgusting  piece of writing criticizing lighting up thousands of diyas when millions sleep hungry every day. Now, the thought is a noble one, but then, carefully planting it in the context of a single festival makes it sinister. If millions dying of hunger is the only benchmark for allowing any celebration, then not even a single birthday party can ever be celebrated around the world. There is no conclusive proof that two hours of crackers add so much to pollution that blaming Diwali is the only resolve and banning firecrackers is the only solution to the persistent 365 days an year pollution problem of Delhi. ThePrint chose to curse the Diwali shopping crowds during the pandemic but was absolutely delighted to see the herds of people occupying roads during Eid. Just compare and contrast the headlines in the pictures to spot the cheapest form of hypocrisy.

TheWire’s interpretation of the pious Diwali celebrations (Source: https://thewire.in/communalism/yogis-sarkari-deepawali-made-ayodhya-feel-alone-abandoned-sita)

Let us not forget that any festival – be it of any community or religion – is about celebrations. The ways might differ, the history or context may be different, but at the end people do celebrate. People celebrate a purpose, their shared history, some cause, their happiness, wealth, families – anything and everything. And celebrations mean extravagance. That is why we make weddings, birthdays, election victories, monument inaugurations, global sports tournaments openings, Olympics, etc. larger than life – spending and indulging on those activities which we won’t do otherwise. Resource over-utilization, over eating, noise, some degree of pollution does come with every such lavish event. Diwali firecrackers aren’t any different from the crackers most so-called secular political parties burst around the cities after winning elections. Pawns of propaganda – the pet dogs of Bollywood stars who get scared and terrified with Diwali noise, I believe, are equally distraught with the deafening and unwanted cacophony that comes out of the loudspeakers other times of the day. I don’t think the environment goes greener when trees are cut for Christmas. But, I never noticed other communities, festivals, or events being targeted and banned the way Diwali is. And Diwali is just one example, I have seen numerous such distasteful taunts on the festivals of Holi, Dussehra, and Karwa Chauth as well.

Isn’t all this a carefully designed act of cultural subversion? Doesn’t this come out of decades of minority appeasement politics being played in India? Is this how tolerance and inclusiveness of the natives of a country repaid for? Why are foreign missionaries and fatwa-issuing organizations so much interested in what happens in India on a single night of the year?

State imposed harassment during festivals (Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/on-diwali-delhi-police-arrest-10-people-register-12-cases-for-sale-of-firecrackers/articleshow/79225241.cms)

I am all in for environmental conservation, ethics, morals, larger good, etc., etc. But, I find it pathetic when these dialogues are used as tools just to humiliate one community. Our beloved cricket team captain whose cricket tournaments lead to far more wastage of water and electricity, which could in practice suffice for entire villages, conveniently chose Diwali to turn into a nature lover.

We should ponder, what happened over the years that it has come to this – when we have to write articles to defend our festivals and convince our easily brainwashed contemporaries about being proud of our culture and tradition. I hope the Instagram crazy generation and Antifa-loving ‘cool’ NRIs do someday realize the hypocrisy that goes around before it’s too late – before our festivals become a distant memory and before there is no ‘India’ left to return to.

I say burst crackers under the nose of every moron who tells you not to.

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