The Life of a Cracker 🧨

by Yash Kaviya

Before we dive into anything else, we at Quicko, would like to extend our warmest greetings of the festive season to each and everyone of you. May these days and the years to follow be full of joy, love and happiness for you. May you achieve all the good that you wished for and may you celebrate this festival of light with colorful rangolis and electrifying fire crac…. okay, we need to have a discussion. 🤨

The Origins

Diwali or Deepavali, as you may call it, is a festival of lights which was established as a welcoming fest for Lord Ram who returned after 14 years to his hometown, his kingdom. When he stepped foot onto his soil in Ayodhya, his subjects embraced him by lighting earthen lamps outside their homes and banged utensils and drums to ward off any evil. The residents wanted to create as festive an atmosphere as possible to welcome the son of the soil. No stone was left unturned, the city was brightly lit and there was a positive energy with all the music, it was the largest festival anyone had seen.

The light and sound show

Certainly, back in the days of Lord Ram, there were no firecrackers. As the scientific prowess of humans increased, there was an increase in the urge of wanting to make things simpler, easier and exciting. That urge led to the development of firecrackers. Historically, gun powder and explosive making knowledge existed in India which eventually went to the Oriental world. China’s repackaged firecrackers and gunpowder made their way to India. The ingenious Indians started making firecrackers of their own and soon the entire subcontinent was exposed to the novel idea of firecrackers. The idea of firecrackers was as fun as it was convenient, firecrackers produced both light and sound at the same time, which was the historic tradition of Diwali and they were fun and enthralling to watch and experience. Increasingly Indians shifted to firecrackers as a form of celebration on Diwali and which is a centuries old tradition that continues to date.

The bad and the ugly

We live in a day and age where although we have access to innumerable solutions, the sad reality that we face is that we have as many problems. One problem that has spooked us since the turn of the century is global warming and increased pollution. Contextualizing that to our country, we haven’t fared that better either. A lot of cities including our capital city of New Delhi, feature in the most polluted cities worldwide. Firecrackers release carbon monoxide and nitrogen-based gases on exploding which are harmful for the immediate atmosphere and ozone layer along with producing noise pollution. General pollution causes health hazards to people and claims a lot of lives. However, studies have also shown that the pollution caused by firecrackers on Diwali is a small and minor contributing issue to the overall problem of pollution in the country.

Idea of relevance?

Naysayers look at this as a climate problem and people on the other side look at this as traditional pride. Neither have the answers, and we desperately need some. The questions are can we make better, more efficient and less polluting firecrackers? Can we control our industrial pollution better? Can we be better and smarter commuters, using public transport? Can we find a sustainable way of disposing off crop stubble? Can we manage our waste better instead of burning it?

These questions need immediate answers, otherwise we end up leaning onto easier and more convenient things to blame. We do not want to paper over our cracks, without addressing real questions. 

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