The Divali Pledge

Standing in the balcony, watching the Bangalore skyline awash with fireworks, it struck me that we are spending too much money on celebrating Deepavali/Divali. Deepavali, the festival of lights has led to us literally burning crazy monies on fireworks which for all practical purposes does more harm than good to anyone(think of the environment!). How much of pleasure we get from seeing a firework is something we need to introspect. Though we all make a hue and cry about the need for governments to start austerity drives, we as individuals do nothing! Typical armchair middle class

The thought of literally converting money to smoke and fire rattled and bothered me. While we have enough money to party and buy fireworks, there is another set of Indians who have to work their ass off to earn 2 square meals a day.. forget 3! I kept imaging how many mouths could have been fed with the money we blew up. We and me are not really bothered about the poorer lot.. this is the fact.

Diwali can actually be celebrated in a much better way.. the real traditional way.. lighting small ‘diyas’ (lamps)which signifies the power of light over ignorance/evil etc etc. I personally felt much more satisfied with the diyas i had than the firecrackers and sparklers i bought.

I know that Austerity starts from within. Even if we cannot forgo the celebrations, we can still provide at least one family with a wholesome meal on a festive occasion. I remember how my parents and grandparents used to feed as many people as possible during festive seasons. I also remember the custom in my ancestral home (and many other homes) wherein you call out and ask “is there anyone who is hungry and not been fed today” before closing the main gates of the home..While we have all progressed in life materially, we seem to have conveniently forgotten our traditions and the intent behind many of the festivals we celebrate...

Well, to cut it short, i have decided that from this day, every time there is an occasion in my family, every time there is a festival lunch, i will make it a point to feed at least one mouth.. ideally a family.. Im sure gonna keep this word not by donating to charities, but by physically giving to the needy.

Comments

KRISH said…
Brilliant..
the other side of the story...
There are as many as 500+ firework factories in the sivakasi district, meeting close 100%( to be precise 95%) of India’s fireworks. Which translates to Rs.6 Billion industry.. of which export earning is negligible..
The world uses abt 95 billion worth of fireworks every year. Of which our neighbor china alone uses nearly 50 billion during festivals.
The question is who makes this firecrackers, none other than our friends in Sivakasi district . The said district alone employees close to 4,10,000 people... I'm sure these people are earning their wages with dignity.. what happens u nd me stop buying it.. But there are other various issues like pollutions, noise, envirnomental issues.. I'm sure there are cracking on al this...
Durga said…
Absolutely concur with your thoughts.To feed one family;;hmm I must say its a great thought indeed. Hope this would inspire others too.

I would like to recall a similar thought.When my son turned one, we decided to perform the rituals(pooja/havan) at Guruvayur.There was a Samooham madom where we did our traditional customs. After that, we(family members plus couple of close friends) had lunch.On the same day we had arranged for poor feeding in a Govt Hospital at Aluva.No party nothing. All that we did was, distributed Sweets and payasams to neighbors.Today, when I look back I don't have any regret for having no birthday bash.Birthday gifts,Return gifts...all these are never ending process.
Jeevez said…
Krish,

I never said lets stop buying crackers.. the thought was more of "lets share a bit more"

Im in no way degrading or berating the dignity of labour of the 4,10,000 people..

All im saying is that we enjoy prosperity, lets share a bit of that..
Apoorva said…
Hey Jeevez, nice thought! nicely put in a simple way. If everyone thinks like this, world would be a better way to live. Good show! write more!

Krish, I think u have stretched the point too far. If u consider the wider picture, u will appreciate Jeevez's point.
Jeevez said…
on what we can do:

My friend Arun conducted his son's bday party in a Pizza joint... there were two kids sitting outside and watching kids inside playing and eating pizzas at will..Very thoughtfully, Arun took two plates of pizazz and gave it to the kids... small deeds indeed can make a difference (im sure the kids loved Arun for giving them something!). the issue is not what you give, but the thought and action of giving whatever u have..

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