Hindu organisations in Tamil Nadu’s Virudhunagar have requested the district administration to ask fireworks manufacturers in Sivakasi to stop using pictures of gods and goddesses on firecrackers.
The local unit of Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha took up the matter with the Virudhunagar collector on September 29, seeking a ban on the use of such pictures. According to the group, such images hurt religious sentiments and was akin to denigrating the deities.
Another organisation, the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti -- an umbrella body of Hindu organisations which claims that it safeguards the interests of the Hindu community and its well-being -- had been running a campaign to stop usage of such pictures on firecrackers.
“Every time a firecracker is burst, images of revered Hindu deities Lakshmi, Krishna and other deities burst in flames and get disintegrated into thousands of small pieces and lay strewn all over the roads and everywhere. This year we had an awareness campaign and later requested the administration in Sivakasi to ensure that manufacturers stop using the pictures of gods and goddesses on firecrackers they manufacture,” said Uma Ravichandran, Tamil Nadu coordinator of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti.
“On Diwali we worship Goddess Lakshmi and it is ironical that all through Diwali Lakshmi bombs are burst, blowing the goddess’ pictures to smithereens all over,” she said.
C Muthukumaran, Virudunagar’s district revenue official under whose jurisdiction Sivakasi falls, sent out a letter to the manufacturers requesting them to take note of the objections raised by the organisations.
“We have intimated the concerns of the organisations to the manufacturers and one association. The association of small firecrackers manufacturers has responded positively to our intimation and has issued a circular to its members,” Muthukumaran told Hindustan Times.
Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers’ Association (TNFAMA), an important manufacturers’ body, has not responded so far, he said.
The TNFAMA, however, refused to consider the intimation on stopping the usage of pictures saying the practice is being followed since the beginning of firecracker manufacturing in Sivakasi.
“We have cited a recent Supreme Court order that permits use of the pictures to the district revenue officer,” G Abiruben, president of the association, said adding “There was no order or a circular from the administration, it was just a letter telling us that some organisations had objections on the use of pictures of deities on firecrackers.”
“We have stated the current position to the DRO and are awaiting his response. Till then, the manufacturing continues,” he said.
Another manufacturer said stocks for this Diwali were manufactured long before the DRO’s letter was issued.
However, G Asokan, a manufacturer, said they have stopped using pictures of deities on firecrackers and pasted them only on the wrappers and packages adding that over 90% of the manufacturers in Sivakasi were doing this keeping in view the sentiments expressed by some organisations over the years.