Too much ado about nothing?
I heard Jaspal Bhatti, a well known comedian, say that Diwali is the 'festival of corruption'. The officials are bribed in the garb of Diwali gifts, he says.
I say Diwali is more injurious than just that. It creates problems of air and sound pollution, contributes to child labour, makes life hell for the birds, brings economic class differences blatantly out in the open and most importantly acts as a perfect pretext for the businesses to create hype and sell their products.
You would be forgiven for thinking that I'm a spoilt sport who does not enjoy the festival that the media claim is being enjoyed by the whole nation. Well, you might be right. At the same time I shall stick to my stand Diwali is unnecessarily over done.
You must have guessed by now that I'm not very religious. Therefore, as I understand it, festivals are occasions to get together and spend some memorable time with your loved ones, which you are otherwise denied of in this busy world.
So why would you want to spend it in a din with anxiety about the safety of the people you care for?
Let's look at the objections one by one. Pollution: it needs very little explanation. My mother is an asthma patient and I know how many precautions she's got to take in the run up to the festival. Most researchers, today, talk in one voice about the dangers of global warming and depleting ozone layer. Why would anyone want to contribute to it?
Even on a normal day, our cities are a din, and it would not be wrong if I said that people have not understood the real danger of noise pollution yet.
Commuting on the days of the festival is...