Why I Oppose the Supreme Court Ban on Diwali Firecrackers


Why I Oppose the Supreme Court Ban on Diwali Firecrackers

Illustration: Ahmed Sikander


iwali might be the festival of lights, but if I want to make it about smoke, noise, and cancer, why is the Supreme Court playing party pooper? The firecracker verdict is yet another systematic attack on Hindu culture.

First they allowed menstruating women inside the Sabarimala Temple, now they want to regulate firecrackers during Diwali. The world is just out there to destroy our great traditions of pollution and discrimination. What next? They’ll now say don’t throw bodies and ashes into the Ganga. Where does this end?

Some insist on looking at the silver lining – that there isn’t a blanket ban on the sale of crackers. But why would the court attach terms and conditions to our celebration? Who has the time for that? I don’t even read the terms and conditions while taking up a job or signing up for a website. What’s worse is that the court has banned online platforms like Flipkart and Amazon from selling firecrackers, which is a huge letdown. I was really looking forward to suggested items to purchase along with my Diwali bombs like oxygen mask and life insurance for people who bought 10,000 ki ladi.

Is it even Diwali if a kid hasn’t lost his finger or an aunt hasn’t burnt her silk saree?

At first, when people were tweeting about the 8 pm to 10 pm timing, I thought they were discussing a safe time for women to leave their houses in Delhi and Gurgaon. But that made little sense, because no time is safe to step out in those cities. On further reading, I found out that the SC has imposed the time band restriction on crackers during Diwali. Only two hours?! How will I win this dick-measuring contest now? How will I prove that I’m the bigger man than my neighbour Shukla ji? Last year, he bought crackers worth ₹12,000, so this year I made the wholly reasonable decision of purchasing crackers worth ₹20,000. How am I to finish my stash in the stipulated time? This feels like school, where we are given only ten minutes to finish our lunch.

And WTF are “safe”, “low-polluting” firecrackers? If the courts want to curb noise pollution, why don’t they ban Arnab Goswami? If smoke causes visibility issues, why can’t people stay indoors? And how do you distinguish safe crackers from unsafe ones? The sutli bomb has a dark green coating, does it count as a green firecracker? If we hold guns and start doing thain thain, what will the UP police do? If a cracker has zero emissions and doesn’t make any noise, Diwali wali feel kaise aayegi? Is it even Diwali if a kid hasn’t lost his finger or an aunt hasn’t burnt her silk saree?

If babies are terrified by firecrackers, they should be shown movies such as Namaste England, so they know there are worse things in life. And dogs? Isn’t subjecting them to loud bangs better than flinging them? Should we worry about everyone’s right to live and breathe or our right to direct a rocket at someone’s house as a prank? I think the answer is obvious to everyone – that people just don’t understand the simple joys of life.

We can let scientific data based on years of study determine how we live our lives, but isn’t ignorance bliss? If there is pollution and the world is horrible for 364 days of the year, why try to make things better for that one auspicious day that we all look forward to? Would an Indian festival even have any meaning without good old pollution?