Festivals are usually seen as a religious occasion to celebrate. However, the only aspect behind festivals is not just to please God or to follow a custom blindly. Festivals give an opportunity for people in a community to come together. They are the occasions for us to get out of our routine and take a break. It’s an instance for people to mingle with each other, forgive and forget any past grudges and celebrate. It’s a chance for people of all ages to socialise. Certain festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi, Navaratri, etc happen at a large scale in many areas. One might think that they create a lot of noise pollution and pollute the environment, which is true. But the same things can be taken care of and the festivals can still be celebrated in an eco-friendly way. Those who see only the negatives in festivals fail to see the positives behind them. We see so many youngsters taking leadership skills and organising big events during such festivals. Those are opportunities for them to grow. The people who might have wiled away their time otherwise would now be associated with a cause and would be working selflessly. When we fail to see that, it is then we see only negatives.
Festivals, as I see, are most important in today’s times more than how much it was in the past. The stress that everyone, right from a primary school kid to elderly people, will be busted when they engage in festivals and celebrations. The children who are glued these days to gadgets, TV and computers will come out and do something more productive. If we take away all these opportunities, we are snatching away a great deal of opportunities from our children to learn a lot of life skills.
But many celebrations lead to polluting the environment? Yes, they do. The fireworks of Diwali does pollute the air. Water is consumed more in Holi and plastic also is used. So is milk ‘wasted’ in Shiv ratri. And Ganesh Chaturthi causes water pollution. Let us think over the air, water, noise and land-pollution in detail.
When we go to buy some grocery, the shopkeeper immediately gives the things in a polythene cover which is extremely harmful for our planet and we all know that. What are we doing against it? How many of us can vow that we will not use polythene covers and will cut down plastic consumption by atleast 95%? How many voices do we hear against this? Hardly any. Why? Because it requires effort to do that. It’s not easy. Voicing against the celebrations is easy, it does not require any effort to do year-long.
How many people resort to walking instead of taking vehicles atleast for minimum distances? Why is it that they don’t think of air pollution which many of us are suddenly reminded of before Diwali? The answer is simple…it requires effort. But voicing against ban of crackers doesn’t require any effort.
There are so many posts that come on social media on why milk is wasted on God. Why not give it to the poor and needy? How many of those who question this, have went out and given a glass of milk to the needy? Again why not? Because it requires effort and voicing doesn’t require any effort.
The submerging of Ganesh idols causes a lot of water pollution. This is true. Then why don’t we ban Ganesh idols that are made out of plaster of paris? Why not decide to buy Ganesh idols made out of mud? Why not? Because idols made out of clay are costlier.
Just before Holi every year, there is a huge cry on saving water by not playing Holi or helping poor farmers by not playing Holi. This is echoed blindly by many people because they don’t pause to think. Or may be it gives a happiness to their ego when they say that they have not played Holi and are concerned about the environment. Where are these people when the farmers need help and not their sympathy? Where are these people when the private swimming pools and pools in housing societies are functioning throughout the year? How is it that a ban on Holi is all that they can think of for conserving water? If they are so much concerned why is their voice not coming up on all the above mentioned occasions? The answer is simple. It is not their fault. They are not realising that they are getting influenced by someone else’s thinking.
By this I don’t mean that we should harm the environment. The point is ‘why all these points come up only before festivals of a certain community?’ This is a genuine question we need to think. We also need to think how we get influenced by such slogans raised by certain people against celebrating certain festivals. Do we see messages like ‘save animals’ before Bakri-Eid? Aren’t they part of the planet? Why is our concern about the planet prejudiced against only certain things? Why don’t we protest against smoking with the same aggression as against Diwali crackers? Why don’t we try to reduce our own consumption of fuel? Why don’t we try to save water everyday and reduce on plastic everyday? Rather than expecting not to do things on certain days and making a small difference, why not do small things daily and make a big difference?