By Himani goyal (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Himani goyal (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

High pollution forced the Supreme Court to give the order against fireworks displays.

The Supreme Court of India has taken the landmark decision to ban all fireworks sales in the capital city of New Delhi. This order comes prior to Diwali, the noted festival of lights. The Diwali festival is a major event in the Hindu religious calendar. 

For most Indians, the Diwali festival is important. They light firecrackers. The night sky of the festival sparkles with fireworks. The latter comes in a number of varieties: from mesmerizing spinning wheels to light showers made possible by rockets. Multiple regions in India witness the homecoming of Ram, the Hindu God after he defeated Ravana, a demon king. The festival symbolizes the triumph of the good over the evil.

The Indian Supreme Court gave the order as an effort to prevent the 2016 repeat of the toxic smog which blanketed the capital metropolis for a few days after Diwali. The Supreme Court gave the decision saying that there should be at least one Diwali sans firecrackers to find whether this step will be a solution or not. If this is discovered to be successful, then there could be such limited Diwalis in the future.

The pollution was so extreme that the local government ordered the temporary closure of construction sites. Power plants were also shut down. Schools were closed for a period of three days. This one time ban, however, has drawn the ire of the Hindu right. Hindus form a majority of the Indian population. The festival brings communities together and also cause undeniable large environmental damage.

The Hindu right said the ruling by the Supreme Court was unfair to the Hindu majority population. The said that the court went too far. A number of right-wing leanings jumped into the debate. Chetan Bhagat, a bestselling Indian author known for his light novels, quickly denounced this decision. He tweeted, “Banning crackers on Diwali is like banning Christmas trees on Christmas and goats on Bakr-Eid. Regulate. Don’t ban.”

Many, however, welcomed the “Green Diwali” idea. They argued that Diwali is a festival of lights, but not of sound. It thus makes not much of a difference whether Diwali festivities include firecrackers or not.

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