In school essays on Diwali, we attributed the cause of celebration to return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after exile lasting 14 years. People lit up their homes with Diyas and distributed sweets amongst each other to rejoice the return of their favourite Rama.
Like everything else, we distorted the original rational for Diwali. Somewhere down the line, Festival of Lights became the festival of sound also with the advent of crackers. These crackers not only caused serious damage to our environment but also had ill effects of causing injuries, noise pollution and sheer waste of money. The simple sharing of homemade sweets gradually transformed into tradition of expensive gifting not always to celebrate Diwali’s spirit but to use the same as a tool for gratification of important people for achieving not too noble objectives. Other social malaise like gambling and drinking had absolutely no connection with the original spirit of Diwali.
Let’s light up our houses not because we learnt that while writing school essays but to obliterate darkness representing ignorance, taboo and other vices in our lives. Let’s distribute sweets not to diabetic overfed socialites but to poor, hungry and deprived street kids, who wait for Diwali to satisfy their cravings. Let’s gift essentials to the needy and not to fat cats to achieve some ulterior motive. Let’s sponsor a poor child’s education by the money saved on crackers. Let’s pray to Goddess Lakshmi not to give us wealth but to give us health to enjoy and properly utilise whatever wealth she has blessed us with.
May everyone have a happy, healthy and prosperous Diwali that spreads message of peace, brotherhood and unity !