Friday, November 9, 2007

Diwali - 2

"Lakshmi bomb"

Today was Lakshmi Pujan (propitiation of Goddess Lakshmi). Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and today was the most important day of Diwali. People clean their houses thoroughly as it is believed that Lakshmi enters the house on this day. In the evening people do the puja (worship/propitiation). Even though it is a holiday today, the stock market is open in the evening for one hour during Mahurat Trading as trading is considered auspicious today.

There is irrational exuberance in the stock market as it (Sensex) touched a new high of 20,000 this year. On July 6, it was at 15,000 and on October 29, it reached 20,000! So many foreign institutions want a piece of the pie in the rapidly growing maket that the Government has had to try to slow down the inflow of foreign funds by placing curbs on Participatory Notes. The realty market has gone through the roof as well and people have made a lot of money. All this is reflected in the mad shopping spree.

People light firecrackers of all sorts during Diwali. There are some firecrackers named after Hindu deities, such as "Lakshmi bomb" or "Vishnu bomb". It is strange to see that people would buy these because when the firecracker blows up, the image of the god/goddess is blown to pieces with it. Only very recently some organizations have woken up to this and tried to unsuccessfully stop such images appearing on the crackers. Another strange thing seen today is that gambling, which is considered a vice, is considered "OK" by a few today and people indulge in it, especially the nouveau riche. Their justification - it is auspicious to win any amount today.

Religion has been used by mankind to discriminate, to abuse children and even to wage wars. Here we have air and noise pollution in the name of religion. There are no strict laws regarding where people can light firecrackers and fireworks. A few years ago it was legally banned to manufacture and sell crackers that produce more than 80 db sound, but papers report sale of crackers producing 120 db. The manufacturers/sellers simply print the month of manufacture so that they can pretend that they were manufactured before the law went into effect. Such loud noises cause various problems - blood pressure shoots up, irritability increases, it is not good for people with heart problems, breathing problems worsen, not to mention loss of sleep. Some people have started to buy their kids noiseless fireworks, but these still cause air pollution. Can you imagine the noise and smoke produced when millions of people light firecrackers/fireworks? Some people used to leave town to avoid these problems, but according to the newpapers this is not a solution anymore because traces of metal and other harmful chemicals can still be found in the air days later. Once in a while someone is caught employing children to make firecrackers illegally, which is yet another problem. Some enlightened people and NGOs are starting with the kids and educating them about these problems so that they can ask their parent to simply light lamps and not buy fireworks. All homes look magical when lit with a lot of lamps.

"Cleverness has limits, stupidity has none." - Unknown


zakscloset said...

sounds like a lot of hypocritical things going on!

Neva said...

It is a long process when you start with kids but hopefully they will follow this as they get older. I hate firecrackers....too many people I know or have heard that have lost parts of their hand as they blow up in the hand or literally can put an eye out. Thoughtful blog today.

Wendy said...

I remember the fireworks in childhood - ones that made noise, and showered the sky with colorful sparks. They were beautiful and fun. Your commentary was a nice read, and gave pause for thought about the fun, beauty, noise, and dangers associated with firecrackers.

Hyde DP said...

We have that noise and pollution problem here around 5th November. It hasn't been quite so bad in recent years but the fireworks started mid-October and have gone on every night since. Last Saturday, Sunday and Monday [the actual 5th] were the worst nights as expected but they've still been going off tonight - I expect some of the post-5th fireworks may have been the local Asian population celebrating Diwali but it does need to be curbed.

Felicia said...

Hope you are enjoying the celebrations this weekend. You are right about the firecrackers - they are pollutive and dangerous!

WebOJ said...

I was in Bombay and it was so festive. Diwali is fun!