Kaieteur News – Tonight, the country is going to be transformed into a virtual ‘war zone’. Fire crackers are going to be popping all around and flares are going to create bright flashes on the darkest night of the year.
Darkness and light make a stunning contrast. A few years ago, just prior to proceeding to the Diwali Parade, I meandered through sections of the city. Quite a few buildings were aglow in light, some more extravagantly than others, but many others were in darkness.
Some rich folks like to show off on festivals such as Diwali and Christmas. It is almost as the more extravagant and ostentatious they are the more blessings they hope will come their way.
One Hindu organisation, a few years, urged adherents, to avoid ostentatious display of wealth at Diwali and instead to give more generously to the poor and needy. It is nice to view the spectacularly lit homes but to do so for the purposes of impressing others is not in keeping with the values of the festival.
But far more disconcerting than the crass display of wealth is the cacophony of noises which is now generated during celebrations of Diwali. In 2008, there was a horrific firecracker attack on residents of Alexander Village. The village is usually thronged by persons interested in viewing the illuminated homes.
The situation got grossly out-of-hand that year when residents’ home and even the Hindu temple came under siege by persons firing off explosive squibs. For more than five years after, the police had to be deployed to ensure an orderly “lighting-up” celebration.
Firecrackers have long been associated with celebrations of Diwali. In fact, the Supreme Court of India has refused to ban the use of firecrackers during Diwali but has placed limitations on noise pollution caused by firecrackers and the times during which they can be used.
It is terrible for dogs. They have much more sensitive hearing than humans. What is heard by humans is heard five times louder by dogs. So, imagine their plight when firecrackers are exploding non-stop around them. One study suggested that dogs could suffer a nervous breakdown because of the fear generated by exploding firecrackers.
All the noise, the extravagance and unbecoming behaviour seem completely at odds with the festival which is supposed to celebrate the victory of good over evil and enlightenment over ignorance.
One of the highpoints of the Diwali celebration used to be the motorcades. Tens of thousands of persons would line the public roads to view the spectacularly lit vehicles most depicting religious scenes. But the pandemic has forced the cancellation of the motorcades.
Many years ago, there was hosted an annual sari competition and the crowning of a Miss Diwali. But this was criticised as being inappropriate to be associated with Diwali and it was discontinued. It has been replaced with far more startling developments.
But what it has not stopped is the use of firecrackers which are becoming noisy and more powerful each year. A few years ago, the authorities had calmed down the sale of these firecrackers but it seems as if the authorities have let their guard down and as a result, massive numbers of firecrackers have been smuggled into the country.
As a result, firecrackers are being sold with greater freedom across the country. I stepped out of a local supermarket yesterday and there on the pavement was a person peddling firecrackers, flares and sparklers. This is being done openly in other places.
There seems no fear of police prosecution and this is something that is worrying since it is hard to imagine that the police themselves whether in their homes, on the road or at work are not aware that these firecrackers and flares are being extensively sold throughout the country.
The police should be arresting and charging persons found with firecrackers.
If there are two things which would make this year’s Diwali observances memorable, it would be for there to be noise-free observances and for all those beer gardens, pubs and bars to close their doors today.
But you can bet with the curfew virtually becoming a non-curfew since 1st November that alcohol is going to be sold in some places on Diwali. And that should not be allowed because not only is it disrespectful of the religious festival but also because it is illegal for such places to be open on a holiday.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
Nov 30, 2021– Foster unveil plans to produce ten West Indies players at all levels in two years Kaieteur News – “On behalf of the Berbice Cricket Board, I would like to welcome you back as an...
Nov 30, 2021
Nov 30, 2021
Nov 30, 2021
Nov 30, 2021
Nov 30, 2021
Kaieteur News – One night, moons ago, as editor-in-chief of the Kaieteur News, Adam Harris and I were discussing my... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – COP26 in Glasgow offered no hope to small island states which continue to face... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]