Some days back, I came across a picture in a facebook group, that said ~ "Industrial Pollution-365days-no problem, Vehicular Pollution-365days-no problem but Diwali Pollution-4hrs/year-big problem! Why?!" I also accidently came upon a girl's blog, scoffing at people who try to make 'hindus' apologetic about their festivals like holi/diwali etc. She says, instead of urging people not to waste water in holi ( as it is only 1 day event ) ~ try using lesser water in everyday baths/ shower or don't wash your cars; don't waste paper. ( For other religions she says, don't cut trees during christmas or slay animals during Eid; or even in daily life don't buy leather stuff or use plastic ). And instead of complaining about noise pollution, stop honking your car-horn at every corner, or don't burst crackers at New Years or other events like celebrating victory in a cricket match or election ( marriages ); file a petition against Disney too for bursting crackers everyday at every park of theirs for nearly half hour; take public transport or ride a bicycle to go to your office instead of taking out your cars even for short distances.
While I agree with almost all parts, and applaud for pointing out the hypocrisy people indulge in ( which we all are aware of btw ), however, I'm still bit wary about hindu festivals like the ones mentioned ( and other ones too ). Maybe because I'm born hindu turned agnostic. I look at these festivals with skepticism, more so, as I've grown more older in recent years ( earlier, when young I celebrated blindly following others - till my mind started questioning ). For me, all religions and their festivals are somewhat illogical, but hinduism beats them all hands-down. For the hundreds of different festivals/rituals they celebrate in a year, with their crores of Gods/Goddesses. I know, people will hate me for speaking my mind - but if something makes no sense to me, then it makes no sense! As simple as that, and thankfully hinduism is such that it allows criticism too ( unlike other rigid faiths ) ~ so I can have my say ;-) Besides, the gal also said sarcastically, that only hindus had these 'annoying' reformists unlike other religions.
Thank God, we've had reformists, else imagine Sati pratha would've still been practiced, so would other malices like devadasi system ( which is still practiced in some parts ), about Widow re-marriage and many other such horrible caste-prejudices which existed earlier ~ all that brahmin/dalit blah blah untouchability crap etc. This girl too, wouldn't have been speaking with so much freedom, had there been no reformist. And it is wrong to say other religions doesn't have reformists --- the many sects we see within christianity/islam are but efforts at reforms only. Infact, the Church has discarded so many of its earlier important orthodox beliefs that christianity itself is at a peril now. We'll come to that in another post...
So, back to hinduism :D Earlier, I used to be proud and revel in the colourful and bright culture we have. But these days, I cringe like WTF Culture is this!! Is there any 'real' God in all of these?
Near my house, there's a kind of area where most of the festivals are celebrated the whole year by the locality. So, the year starts with Makar Sankranti when the group burns a hay-stack that they make. During 26th Jan, our own building-walas keep a Satya-Narayan Puja in the terrace unfailingy; next chanda hunt follows for Saraswati puja in the area mentioned earlier, and a small pandal is set. Holi comes with burning of the holika ( bit similar to hay-stack burning ritual of makar-sankranti), and naturally Holi is loudest and dirtiest ( atleast it looks so ). Every few days, a new pandal is set for a certain festival, and then dismantled after it finishes. If you observe carefully, it can be quite ironic. At the same spot, one after another different God/Goddess's pandals are erected. For few days, loud prayer chantings mixed with latest bollywood numbers goes on non-stop, and then the idols are taken in yet another loud procession and dumped in the sea nearby, ( and in both sthapana and visaran days of all idols crackers are burst insanely ).
So, for eg. if Janmastami ended today with all the dahi-handis all over the place, few days later Ganpati would start, then Navratri and so on ~ at that same place by those same people. I'm like, why keep dismantling the pandals, when within few days you're gonna erect new ones anyways. Talk about time and money saving, eh! Have a look at the yearly line-up of festivals. I go like WHHHOOOAHHH!!!
( the list donot include miscellaneous other hindu beliefs/rituals etc mangal puja, graha puja, the vehicle-god Vishwakarma puja etc etc including those of other religions like Jain, Buddhist, Sikh, Islam, Christian festivals )
As an agnostic person, I really find no sense in all these. Because, we try to analyze religion from different perspective, and that includes all religions. So, hindus please don't think I'm targetting you guys only :D
So, back to the picture I had seen on facebook. Yes, industrial and automobile pollution does hamper the environment more and wherever possible we should take steps to ensure that damage is lessened. But then, those are necessity evils too. I mean, without industries or vehicles, can you imagine life or the world functioning? Besides, they might be slow long-term killers, whereas the loud noises on diwali and the air full of burnt crackers can be an instant hazard to a heart or asthmatic patient. The picture also claimed that Diwali is 4hr/year. Is it really? I think its celebrated for 4-5 days, not to mention all other list of festivals mentioned above. And seriously, bursting crackers mindlessly, that has no real necessity or serving any purpose as such should be done away with, I think. Yes, at Disney too. Culture won't vanish if its stopped, because those noisy bombs/rockets are a recent invention. Earlier people used more simpler stuff, and celebrated by lighting diyas, eating sweets etc which can still be done more as a social celebration ~ as I really find no God in these kinda festivals :| Anyways, done with my ranting, so here's wishing everyone a Happy and Pollution free Diwali \:D/
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