HT Chandigarh Readers’ Take: Happy Diwali, go for peace not pollution, care not crackers
In a year almost written off due to Covid-19, reach out to those in need to brighten up their Diwali, renew bonds with loved ones, and go eco-friendly with a vengeance, say readers
Stay away from crowded places
Yes, festivities bring joy and excitement, but we should not forget that Covid-19 has not been vanquished. So, to prioritise our safety and that of our loved ones, let us have virtual celebrations. Let us meet and greet friends and family members through video and phone calls or by using social media apps. A namaste is always preferable in these times to a hug or a handshake. Avoid eating out or ordering takeouts and cook tasty food at home. Make sure your diet contains vitamin C, omega 3 fatty acids and other high nutritional foods to increase immunity levels. And if you are going out, don’t forget your masks. Also, do not use a sanitiser while lighting diyas and candles as the alcohol in it is inflammable. Avoid crackers.
Go green with a vengeance
There is a great risk of a surge in Covid cases because of the rush in markets, so the best thing to do would be to celebrate a green Diwali this year by lighting earthen oil lamps and not bursting crackers. People must also as far as possible not venture out of their homes to avoid getting infected.
Donate to the poor
We can light diyas, make rangolis and distribute sweets among friends and family. Donate clothes, masks and sanitisers to the poor so that they can keep themselves as well as their families safe. We should clean not only our houses but our surroundings too. We should pledge to spread happiness, not pollution and do what we can for the needy as their sufferings have been greater than ours during the pandemic.
Heavy fines please for bursting crackers
Diwali should be celebrated by lighting up homes, common areas such as parks and greeting our near and dear ones. Sweets should be made at home as the ones available in the market are often not made with pure ingredients. Heavy penalties should be imposed on persons violating the cracker ban. Whatever the occasion, be it religious or political, no crackers be allowed at any time from now on.
Inderjit Singh Sidhu, Mohali
Stay at home, keep things simple
Every individual is under the threat of coronavirus while smog is engulfing our lives too. It’s a welcome move to ban crackers but it should have come earlier. Simple celebrations will suffice this year by exchange of gifts and organising of indoor games with the family. This coronavirus phase has united every family so it’s high time we preserved our traditions by cleaning up our surroundings and distributing extra stuff among the needy. A small amateur show can be organised for family too.
Help those in need
Covid-19 has made life miserable for a lot of people who have lost their jobs or faced salary cuts. In India, there is a big gap between the rich and poor and because of inflation the poor do not have a lot of money in their hands. The true spirit of Diwali means helping those who need it.
SK Khosla, Chandigarh
Become Santa Claus this Diwali
This Diwali we must perform our social responsibility of not polluting the environment and let the ring of laughter replace loud crackers. It is important to follow the norms set to fight the pandemic to keep the spirit of the festival alive. Use biodegradable ingredients such as rice powder, colourful grains, turmeric, and flowers for rangoli and replace electrical lamps with clay diyas. We must try utilising old utensils or fabrics to make interesting DIY decorations and choose fabric or recycled paper for wrapping gifts. Make a healthy switch to home made goodies and opt for handcrafted gifts, personalised cards or gift plants and terrariums. We can be the Santa Claus this Diwali and light up many lives by sharing clothes, sweets or books and experience the biggest joy by celebrating the festival, which marks the victory of good versus evil, in its true sense .
Komal Singh, Chandigarh
Strive to be better each day
The beauty of life is that it can be enjoyed every moment with a deep sense of gratitude that leads to contentment and joy. However, in this day and age, our hearts could be filled with negative emotions, insecurity and negative thoughts. This Diwali let us light the dazzling diyas of faith and positivity by making ourselves better persons by adopting a healthy lifestyle, learning and growing through books. Diyas should also be lit to express gratitude for those who gave up their today for us, and with love and support to those who lost their loved ones. Let’s burn the crackers of hatred, insecurity and selfishness and replace it with love and harmony.
The surge in Covid cases after a lull necessitates strict observation of safety rules viz use of mask,gloves and sanitisers and avoiding crowded places to maintain social distance. We need self-restraint to celebrate the festival safely and should avoid crowds and sensitise others too to do so. In our family we have decided to gift plants to friends. One of our rituals annually is to provide woollen clothes and blankets to the lepers’ home and meals/sweets at an orphanage. No one should make personal visits. Conveying good wishes to loved ones by phone or e-mail will be good enough.
Usha Verma, Chandigarh
Help small craftsmen
Let’s encourage people to use earthen diyas and candles instead of electrical lighting to illuminate homes to provide some financial help to small craftsmen and to save energy. Instead of sweets, exchange saplings and books as Diwali gifts. Above all, try to help at least one needy person.
Dr Sukhdev Singh Minhas, Mohali
Spend time with the elderly
The best way to celebrate Diwali this year is to spend time with our loved ones, especially the elderly, just being together as a family and thanking God for the life he has given us. Instead of spending money on oneself it’s important to help the less fortunate and in providing food to the needy. All of us should light diyas and pray for harmony, peace, prosperity and happiness for all and take a pledge to help those who need it. It’s important that people take social responsibility in their own individual capacity to be safe and follow social distancing norms.
RWAs have to step in
The effort to sensitise people about the ill-effects of crackers should continue throughout the year. In educational institutions, seminars and debates should be organised to impress upon the youngsters the urgent need to shun crackers. Resident welfare associations must play a responsible role in ensuring a complete check on cracker burning in their areas, as besides creating pollution, these cause burn injuries.
SS Arora, Mohali
Don’t increase burden on hospitals
Medical experts have been warning us to avoid social gatherings and bursting of crackers, which can lead to a manifold rise in the number of Covid infections, increasing the burden on limited medical facilities in the country. Considering the extraordinary times we are living in, it is better to take medical advice as a matter of faith, avoid crowded places, take all precautionary measures to save ourselves and others and strictly follow the restrictions imposed by the authorities on crackers in their respective areas. One should celebrate Diwali at home with the family, put up lights, do pooja and make rangolis. Let the dark clouds prevailing across the globe be blown away and peace and wellness prevail.
Suresh Verma, Chandigarh
Stay put at home
First of all, safety guidelines, ie face masks and sanitisers should be used and social distancing followed. People should light up their homes and clean their houses, decorating them with flowers and toys, earthen lamps and candles. No one should be rushing to the markets. Families should ensure they sit together to worship the goddess Lakshmi and pray for the good health, wealth and happiness of all. And yes, no gambling please.
Sumesh Kumar Badhwar, Mohali
Time for introspection
Diwali should be celebrated without inflicting any harm upon our fellow humans, birds, animals and the environment. Let Diwali be an occasion for introspection. Any bursting of firecrackers is synonymous with vulgar display of affluence. Heavens will not fall if firecrackers are not burst. Vote-bank compromises today must not be to the detriment of the coming generations. Let us also make a difference to those for whom even two square meals a day is a feast. Make their Diwali memorable by offering them food and gifts besides clothes to face the winter season.
Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula
We have a lot to be thankful for
I think people should take it as a blessing if they are fit and fine and with their families on this day. They should not take the risk of visiting crowded areas.Wish your loved ones a Happy Diwali on phone or through social media apps. Stay at home, don’t burst firecrackers, don’t buy sweets from the market and above all avoid being a part of a large gathering.
Suman Kansal, Panchkula
Light diyas of positivity
The best way to celebrate Diwali is to not just be happy but also to spread happiness, not only among humans but nature too. I want my Diwali to be lit up by the positivity of diyas, to explore my creativity through colourful rangolis and have my family come together and make new and positive memories. I also want to light up every corner of my home. In this current situation, we all should understand that firecrackers need to be avoided as doing so would mean increased risk of Covid-19.
Shefali Aswal, Chandigarh
Help slum children
Let’s say no to firecrackers and instead bring joy to the lives of slum children by sending them gifts that they could use instead of spending money on sweets and cards for friends and relatives who are well off. Clothing and items of daily needs would help.
Col TBS Bedi (retd), Mohali
Spend money for a good cause
Money that’s budgeted for buying crackers should instead be spent on helping the needy, especially the homeless or those living in old age homes and orphanages, others who are disabled, transgenders, or have been afflicted by leprosy. Saplings can be planted to save the environment on Diwali. I along with my family never burst crackers and every Diwali I try to help needy people in my own way.
Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali
Cracker ban decision came too late
In the days of Covid 19 and increasing air pollution the ban on crackers is a right step keeping the health of the people in mind. But why does the administration always wake up at the eleventh hour? This is injustice with the traders who have invested lakhs of rupees in buying crackers. This decision should have been taken two to three months back, thus avoiding monetary loss and any heartburn.
Dr Devinder Garg, Chandigarh
We have to mend our ways – now
Nature has taught us a lesson during this pandemic , whether we accept it or not. If we do not mend our ways now then we may not get another chance to celebrate the next Diwali. Celebrations this year should be free of air and sound pollution.
Life cannot be risked for money
Chandigarh has a large population of senior citizens, who are in the high risk category for contracting Covid-19. Hence, the more pollution there is, the more susceptible they will be to infections. The contention of the traders that their Diwali is ruined is unjustified as lives of the people cannot be put to risk for a few bundles of notes.
Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur
Leave the world a bit better
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” On this auspicious Diwali, let’s take inspiration from this beautiful quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson and make sincere efforts to uplift the life of all the people around us.
Avik Seth, Zirakpur
Start cleaning up
People should stay at home to celebrate an eco-friendly Diwali with their families. We should clean and sanitise our homes. Like olden days, whitewashing the house makes sense as it automatically sanitises and kills germs.
Arun Goyal, Chandigarh
Gift plants to Covid warriors
Always remember, your happiness doubles by sharing.
1) So, use the money you were going to spend on buying crackers to help someone who is need. Donate clothes,food items, and books to NGOs/domestic helpers
2)Support local vendors by buying theire products
3) Recycle gifts
4) Gift a tree, especially to corona warriors with a thank you message written on the pot and don’t forget to plant a tree in your garden
A small kind act of yours, can change someone’s life.
Vasundhara Chaudhary, Mohali
Not a time to show off your wealth
Aim to make this auspicious festival a day of giving and forgiving, and not of show of wealth or sycophancy. Let it be a happy day full of love and brotherhood, where people reach out to one another, even making up with estranged relatives. Saying sorry on this day should be a normal thing. Let us seek the blessings of our parents and grand parents, thereby enriching the sanskars in our children. Let us not rush to others’ houses to give gifts and crowd around to prove to the world how sincere we are. Why don’t we understand? Why have we already started hearing the sound of crackers bursting ? As if farm fires were not enough, why are we adding into pollution, and to the discomfort to animals and birds? The coronavirus should have at least taught us to value life and be humble. Let it be a day of sharing joy and brotherhood. At the end of the day, it should leave us happy with a kinder heart, and stronger bond.
Colonel R D Singh ( Retd), Ambala Cantonment