Supreme Court has lifted the ban oven bursting crackers on Diwali with few conditions. The Apex Court has said that this time, only green crackers (crackers that cause less pollution) can be used for celebrations. And that too, only between 8 PM to 10 PM. For Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the court has allotted the time of one hour only, from 11:45 PM to 12:45 AM.
It is a well-known fact that people of India, especially metros suffer from cracker-pollution borne diseases post-Diwali. Not only children, but elders also suffer from the pollution caused by the burning of crackers. While many people were happy with the decision of the SC, many criticized it, and it started a debate. Amidst this debate, an important question arises. What is the connection between Diwali and crackers, and when and why Indians started to celebrate Diwali with crackers?
While talking about crackers and fireworks, it is important to know the history behind them. People often wonder if the use of crackers for celebrating Diwali has been a tradition since Treta-Yuga, the time when Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana, marking the celebration of first ever Diwali. But the history doesn’t suggest so. In fact, according to history, Diwali is the festival of lights, and people in ancient India used to light Diyas (mini oil lamps), to celebrate Diwali – a tradition that we still follow. But somehow, after modernization, we ended up burning crackers too!
As said earlier, nowhere in the history it is mentioned that crackers were used to celebrate Diwali. In fact, gun-powder and crackers are not invented in India. It is said that crackers were first invented in the 7th Century in China. Although, history does mention an interesting fact! When Emperor Babur invaded India in 1526, he used cannons as well. The sound of cannon blasts used to scare Indian soldiers, as they never heard such a sound in their life. This further strengthens the fact that crackers were never used in India before.
Historians are divided on the first use of crackers in India. Some say that crackers came to India only after the establishment of the Mughal Empire, while others say that crackers were used in India even before the Mughal invasion, especially for hunting purposes. While it is not clear that when crackers arrived in India, it is clear that use of crackers is not associated with Diwali celebration since the beginning. Then why are we hell bent to destroy nature and rob our children of fresh air in the name of tradition, which never existed in the first place?