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Diwali: The Hindu Festival
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Diwali: The Hindu Festival

The overwhelming sense of fear is palpable. Every breath you take fills your lungs with treacherous venom. Aching cries tear through the whooshes, sputters and bangs to sting your heart. Callous cackles roister in the spree of utter destruction. The baneful 'festival' of Diwali is upon us and the Devil's kingdom is gearing up for a field party. Sanity is sacrificed for mundanity enabling the imps to take over human bodies. Let the havoc begin!

The celebration of Diwali per se is a gross violation of everything that I've ever stood up for- free thought, animal rights, human rights and environmental welfare. Thousands of stray animals are killed, many more rendered hearing impaired and/or physically disabled. The natural daily routine of birds is disturbed and many endure severe psychological trauma. A heavy smog drapes the streets on Diwali night and the days that follow. The levels of Sulphur Nitrate, Magnesium, Nitrogen Trioxide reach several times the permissible levels. Home arrest is imposed upon pets, elderly people and people with allergies and sensitivities. To asthmatics, Diwali is potentially fatal. One Diwali night causes as much damage to the ecology as regular pollution does over the span of an entire year.

The ones mentioned above are only a few of the consequences of the celebrations. Other include noise pollution, the garbage generated and the human accidents. And I haven't even come to the manufacturing process of fireworks yet. Children, forced into employment by the fireworks industry based in Sivakasi, have to work overtime during Diwali under tyrant employees with no safety regulations. Many innocent children lose their hand, legs and eyes. Many are maimed for life. Their wages are pitiful and are certainly not worth the torture imposed upon them. This is child exploitation, plain and simple.

What vexes me the most is that the supposedly compassionate people indulge in such frivolous behavior without a second thought. The environmentalists, social workers, vegans, animal rights activists, feminists all are victims of this tradition and social norm. The triumph of good over evil is celebrated by turning evil.

Mediocre minds all over the world throng the markets in preparation of the most widely celebrated Hindu festival. They buy neatly packed boxes of firecrackers embellished with pictures of shapely women(Sexism, don't get me started on that). The apathetic public revels in the devastation they are going to cause. The pathetic facet of humanity is laid bare for all to see. Violent, tumultuous and disorderly, human nature prevails over the delicately disposed environment. Diwali may well be the most destructive religious festival ever, although it faces serious competition from others like Bakrid, Durga Puja and Thanksgiving. Humans, apparently, can get away with anything done in the name of religion and God. And all they seem to do is destroy. Isn't it time for us to evolve as a race, as a species to try and co-exist with other animals, nature and our planet?

 

 

*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.

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  1. SnakeWitch
    First, welcome to The Flaming Vegan! Second, this is a very thought-provoking post. I didn't even know about this festival, so I never engaged in it. I do not indulge in things that create such an amount of cancer-causing contamination, anyways, so I doubt that I would approve. I am currently living in Colombia and there were a few days of celebrating lately - was it the same festival, perhaps? - with people throwing water and spraying foamy soap at women! I have no clue why, but needless to say, I didn't participate. This is an area where lack of water looms over the horizon and may very well be a reality if the citizens aren't careful... Voted! I have a new piece that you may enjoy. It has some sort of similar thought-provoking type of writing, so I believe this is along your alley: November 11th, A Day to Remember. Cheers!
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    1. xVeganx
      xVeganx
      Thanks a lot for the welcome, the vote and the comment. I will make sure to check out your article. cheers!
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  2. Veganara
    Veganara
    Vote no 8. Great article, powerful and thought-provoking. It's funny, I knew about Diwali (is it also called the Festival of Light?) and thought it must be a positive, life-enhancing event, but your blog gives the other side of it! What a great shame. I know people need these celebrations to help them enjoy life, but why, as you say, do they have to go overboard and do everything in such a destructive and violent way, with no respect for others, people or animals or the environment? I suppose we are relatively lucky here in the UK in that we don't generally go wild with events like this, but there is still lack of respect; for example, at this time of year, people keep letting off fireworks for weeks, even though Bonfire Night has come and gone. It is very disruptive and it terrorises our pets. Plus fireworks are dangerous anyway. We certainly don't sacrifice animals though, that is illegal (even though billions are killed in slaughterhouses each year! Ironic, eh?) I hope to see more blogs from you, and thank you for voting on a couple of mine. I am glad you like my recipes too!
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    1. xVeganx
      xVeganx
      thanks a lot for the vote and the comment. yes, it is indeed called the festival of lights. you should see the streets of certain places during the Islamic festival of Bakrid. the streets overflow with blood of sheep and cattle. sickening.
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  3. kristo
    kristo
    voted! great article! I also didn't know about how violent this festival is. There are also a lot of sacrifices here on holy days and it is not uncommon to see a pig being butchered on the roadside during important (bali) hindu occasions. very disgusting, and like you said about the garbage - after a ceremony is over, and everyone goes home, the ground is COVERED in plastic. so upsetting.
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    1. xVeganx
      xVeganx
      thanks for the comment and like kristo!
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  4. Nitmat
    Looks like your article is diminishing the ethos of this Great India festival, due to the way some sections chose to celebrate it. Good news is that past 5-yr trends show drastic dip in cracker sale nationwide on Diwali. A dash of positivity in your article would have been very welcome!
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    1. xVeganx
      xVeganx
      *most sections air pollution levels have gone up last year.
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    2. xVeganx
      xVeganx
      btw, demand for crackers has declined by an amazing percentage this year :)
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  5. mathur0yash
    good point, but, the festival diwali cannot be held responsible for the child labour in sivakasi, its because of the ignorant and money minded employers. diwali wasnt about pollution always, modernization and industrialization has brought this thing upon us..anyways it still will be the festival of light and we still welcm foreign tourists to come and see he beauty and magnitude of the celebration u can ever see..holding a great and sacred festival responsible for the pollution and all, not quite appropriate. i wish this blog was more bout being vegan and vegan diet rather than being aimed at certain community who make and solve there problems on there own. no offence though but we clean up the covered plastic the next day! not raising an argument here. repect your point of view but i love to right the wrong! in the end, "haters gonna hate, masters gna bate" :) enjoy and have an enlightening, prosperous and happy diwali!
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    1. Fearless Vegan
      First of all I'd like to welcome my friend Abhijit Muduganti on The Flaming Vegan & I am super glad to see his debut article here making it to the top post!:) Nitmat for a dash of positivity you might want to have a look at my article here http://www.ezinekaleidoscope.com/be-a-ray-of-hope-this-diwali.html ... Mathur0yash-Cleaning up plastic the next day is something not everybody does.Plastic has implications for Cows.Sure Diwali is a great festival.It would be greater though if we celebrated it with a little more thought & care for the animals & the environment.As for child labour,remember,the fireworks industry is becoming a cottage industry as it is going through a slump period.This automatically translates into work being outsourced by manufacturing units to artisans who work from home for very little money.Most of these artisans are children.So although the fireworks industry does not directly employ these children in their factories,they still employ them.Diwali is not what it used to be years ago.
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      1. mathur0yash
        true...agreed with your point...but there are many people to point, but did anyone find any solution to that? no offence, my point is, stop criticizing and start working for the thing u dont like and think are inadequate. i do my part, m still a student and prefer my diwali cracker free. this is for everyone including the the blog writer, if u got issues, any solutions u got in mind which we can actually implement?
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        1. xVeganx
          xVeganx
          and where do you intend to dump the plastic? you do know that it's non-recyclable, right? and plastic is the least of our problems. the amount of toxic waste generated is enormous. some even finds its way into our food. The solution is to stop with the crackers. isn't it what the article was all about? why do you think that i should write about veganism only? freedom of speech, bro. it's my space and i'm venting. 'holding a great and sacred festival responsible for the pollution and all, not quite appropriate' yet, the celebration of the festival is responsible for the destruction. just because it's your opinion that it is 'great and sacred' doesn't change the truth one bit. where in my article have i questioned the significance of the festival? if you're going to celebrate Diwali by eating vegan, sitting at home and praying to your God, i wouldn't have any problem with you doing so.
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      2. xVeganx
        xVeganx
        oi! let me reply! thanks for the welcome! :)
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  6. Teeni
    Please don't write exaggerations without understanding the ethos of the festival of lights. The worst festival of all in my mind is the mindless Bakra Id celebrated by the muslim community the world over which celebrates rampant and open killing of animals big and small that to in the name of each member of the family - Diwali has always been the festival where good is celebrated over evil and for that all families light up houses with terra-cotta lamps and electric lights. The fireworks are an expression of joy and is better then firing guns in the air the way its done in most middle eastern and dim-wit nations. Fireworks are used the world over whether China, US or any other nation - Fireworks are used only one day in the year on Diwali and don't pose any health hazard - studies have not shown any negative impact like cancer etc in India or any other Diwali celebrating nation when compared to other nations that don't celebrate Diwali. Your perspective to India and Indian culture is like Danny Boyle's Slumdog MIllionaire - a beautiful parody of choicest filth strung together to shock the western world. Maybe you will get an Oscar - NOT !!
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    1. xVeganx
      xVeganx
      there were studies on the impact of Diwali on health? i would love to go through them. i have explained why Diwali celebration using firecrackers is hazardous to our health, the environment and the animals. if you are looking to debate on the matter, please do so. please don't make empty statements. 'dim-wit nations'. oh, so you're racist, too? when your 'expression of joy' causes harm to the environment, humans and other animals, i have every right to raise my voice against such an act. do you really want me to warm up to your notion that your expression of joy is more important than the lives of others? if so, you disgust me and i have nothing else to say to you.
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      1. xVeganx
        xVeganx
        why have you religious folk suddenly ganging up on me? has my article been shared on some Hindu site or something? are you guys even vegan?
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      2. mathur0yash
        alright! crackers and plastic waste, thats what your post is all about? right?also on harm caused by "DIWALI" to humans and animals, can u please enlighten me about the fact that as compared to other countries, india does not slaughter animals as most western countries do. you talk about cancer, US has the largest number of affected people by it. you talk about harm caused by one day of celebration. please provide me the links to all your studies and research you've been through to write your posts.i just read Fearless Vegan's post on your article...if your post would have been like that, i would have surely welcmd your article bro!everyone is culprit...so aim at everyone!how about all the fast food joints which slaughter animals and are the reason of obesity. as i said, Everyone is a Culprit, even you and even me!
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        1. mathur0yash
          hahaha you are funny bro....what about freedom of speech? :D
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          1. xVeganx
            xVeganx
            'i wish this blog was more bout being vegan and vegan diet' that was what it was in reply to
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        2. xVeganx
          xVeganx
          oh my God, what do you mean 'aim at everyone'? when have i condoned the slaughter of animals in western countries? which part of 'vegan' do you not understand? if you go through the articles on the site, you'll notice that each one of them talks about only a single subject. because none of them can talk about everything at a time. please show me how i can fit in all the detrimental things that happen in the world of today in one post and i'lll do so. Fearless Vegan just criticized and you said 'that is exactly my point'. cancer does not depend only upon firecrackers. it depends on various factors. when in the article have i stated that firecrackers are the sole cause of cancer? i hadn't even mentioned cancer. why are you dead set on defending your country? i haven't once mentioned India or have compared it to other countries. why do you feel so insecure about the issue?
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          1. mathur0yash
            "The baneful 'festival' of Diwali is upon us and the Devil's kingdom is gearing up for a field party" "The triumph of good over evil is celebrated by turning evil." because of such foul language! do u get it now? you unwittingly go on speaking trash about the festival, obviously you hurt the sentiments of a majority population. choose your freaking words and expressive them with more gratitude! else am not gonna reply you since i know you wont even consider what others are saying..your blog, your view. wouldnt get you an oscar!
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            1. Winnie
              Winnie
              rightly said mathur0yash. we cannot hurt anyone's sentiments in the name of freedom of speech or opinion. and by the way mr.abhijit it's you who are not letting us have our freedom of speech here. by deleting our comments you cannot justify your mindlessly used words.
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              1. xVeganx
                xVeganx
                the only comments I deleted were the ones with repetitive arguments. all of them quoted the same sentences from the article. and then proceeded to insult me. if your replies to the comments were deleted, please forgive me.also, most of the replies were in my favour.
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                1. Winnie
                  Winnie
                  sorry but I cannot see much of replies in your favor. The kind of language you have used in this article has violated the terms and conditions of this portal and you cannot just go with it. And look at the language you have used. 'The overwhelming sense of fear is palpable'. Do you have any idea of what you have written? You call Diwali as 'baneful' festival. How can you say that?? I am surprised on how your article could come among top posts when it does not qualify even to be among new ones. And when people are objecting on this, you are trying to prove yourself right? tell me, why wont anybody be defensive about his highly-esteemed festival being called upon as 'baneful'?? Answer me, and you dare not delete this message. ok !!
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                2. Veganara
                  Veganara
                  You seem to have deleted one of my comments, xVeganX, and I was supporting you! I said something like that I understood that you were just venting, and I thought people were overreacting to your comments. Why did you delete mine? Everyone should be entitled to express their opinion, whether positive or negative, as long as they don't start becoming abusive and using bad language.
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    2. Fearless Vegan
      mathur0yash-This article is simply a vent...if you google there are many ways to celebrate Diwali without disrupting everyone's peace of mind & causing harm to animals & the environment..why do we have to defend what's wrong about a certain aspect of celebrations in India ,be it any community...why just Bakri Id?This is not about Hindu festival vs Muslim festival. Why not talk about the crocodiles that are being killed & eaten by barren women in the hope that eating crocodile meat will somehow get them to become fertile?Why don't we talk about the horrific beef industry that operates illegally despite being banned across India except in 2 states?and is further fuelled by the dairy industry which is so happily promoted by the Government!Why don't we talk of the owls that are massacred in the name of Laxmi Puja?Just because we are Indians,does not mean we defend everything that is India.Diwali is no happy situation for the millions of animals that suffer because of our warped ideas of celebration.Fireworks are not used only one day in the year.Please!That's delusional.Every opportunity firecrackers are burst,in marriages,cricket matches & a whole lot of other festivals.
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      1. mathur0yash
        now sum1 is talking sense. Mam this is exactly my point! i understood what you've said, please make the blogger understand! i am not defending and totally agree with the harm caused by it, fact is, the magnitude of harm is way less then other things which we face in our daily life. I am a student and doing engineering and i've been through many facts and researches which i would loved to share if needed!
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        1. Fearless Vegan
          Mathur0yash -To begin with,I don't see why such a harsh reaction to this post.I am an engineer too .So is Abhijit.I don't see how that has any relevance to ths discussion.Research & facts can be provided by you,by me & Abhijit ,I am sure but I don't understand what it is that we are arguing...????Plastic & firecrackers are less damaging than more serious problems today?Such as?The No Plastic Drive has gained tremendous momentum in India,surely for good reason.Please don't forget July 26th,2005 was a result of the Mitthi river being clogged by pastic.Isn't that damaging enough?Every year thereafter,life in the city of Mumbai has been paralysed by even a few hours of rain fall.The mindless reclamation of land like Bandra reclamation & Navi Mumbai has proved environmentally sensitive due to our drainage systems & rivers being clogged by plastic & filth.Singapore too relied on reclamation to provide for land shortage but they don't face the problems we do.Hygiene & Sanitation are not India's strong points & mindless celebrations like we have during Navratri,Dussehra(triumph of good over evil) where after the priest performs pooja,people dance to "choli ke peechay kiya hai" ,dead drunk.During Holi,in Wardha,where I live,a woman cannot go out even in the afternoons because drunk men prowl the streets.Ganesh puja,one of the most environmentally destructive festivals.Kids as young as 13 get drunk & create mischief.This is NOT celebration & in no way sacred.There are communities & groups that do celebrate responsibly.Go to Matunga,you may still see the spirit of Indian festivals at the risk of sounding a holier than thou TamBrahm.But otherwise,by & large,all one sees is exactly what Abhijit takes us through in his article.good night:) & Happy Diwali!:)
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          1. xVeganx
            xVeganx
            I'm done with this. they're posting the same crap over and over again. deleted some comments. sorry, your replies might have disappeared along with the original comments. fanatics, the lot of them! I'm pretty sure none of them are actually vegan or are even interested it veganism, just came here to troll.
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            1. mathur0yash
              you contribute to them... +1
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              1. xVeganx
                xVeganx
                see what I mean? he makes no sense at all.
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  7. barblarsen
    barblarsen
    I believe many of the points made in this article can apply to the majority of holidays celebrated globally ... in the western world there is Christmas ... now presented as gross commercialism. Where does all that 'stuff' come from? ... and, even more importantly, where does all the old 'stuff' end up (landfills?). In the United States there is a celebration of mass animal slaughter in November ... to celebrate gratitude - how many animals are tortured and slaughtered for the sake of gratitude? Ignorance and cruelty have often walked hand in hand ... Diwali is no exception. It is what we do ... what we who have chosen to live a more compassionate life by adopting veganism ... that demonstrates how celebrations can be enlightened and humane. How we can celebrate the true meaning of what a holiday represents. By our example do we promote change ... by using the power of social media as well as reaching out to those who remain ignorant will change occur. So ... well done on bringing this information to light (not intended as a pun here) ... Diwali for me is a happy holiday - but I celebrate it with conscious intent of not causing harm for any ... but with joy in the hopes that good will always overcome evil.
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    1. Teeni
      Appreciate your post - Happy Diwali.
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    2. xVeganx
      xVeganx
      a sane comment at last! thanks a lot! yup, it's how we choose to live that matters. good does indeed the power to overcome evil. only, it has been repressed for so long now that it has lost most its grandeur. appreciate the way you celebrate Diwali and other festivals. wish everyone was like that. Diwali, for me, has always been a sad affair. I always find injured and maimed animals on the street. only today, I found a pigeon whose wing had been damaged and I also managed to shoo away few teenage kids who were throwing bombs at stray dogs. last Diwali, I have come across a dog who had lost his genitals to burns. died of agony right in front if me anyway, Happy Diwali! :)
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      1. Teeni
        move out of the slums - and you'll see less of this cruelty.
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        1. mathur0yash
          haha true!
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          1. mathur0yash
            deletion depicts cowardness!its a debate, an argument.support your point and consider what is said!what is happening to the adult generation of this country! shamefull
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            1. xVeganx
              xVeganx
              once again, you prove your stupidity. all the comments I deleted contain the same argument about how insulting my post is to your religion and some nonsense about using foul language(you don't even know what that means, apparently). your initial comments are open for all to see. the rest of your comments are just a repetition of the same. I don't want this to become breeding ground for ignoramous douches and hence the deletion. in this case, it certainly doesn't depict 'cowardness'
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        2. xVeganx
          xVeganx
          say what?! okay, I'm gonna let this comment stay for other people to see how apathetic you are to suffering. this is a vegan site and you simply don't belong here. goodbye.
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          1. mathur0yash
            quite nice language you use!
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            1. xVeganx
              xVeganx
              thanks :)
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      2. barblarsen
        barblarsen
        Thank you ... and Happy Diwali. I too am faced with unimaginable cruelty on a daily basis ... but I remember one saying: Be the change you want to see in the world! Heroics are not always achieved by massive change - they can also be achieved one person at a time :-) You are a brave person ... keep rescuing and nurturing and living your life as an agent of change!
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        1. xVeganx
          xVeganx
          thanks for the kind words. much appreciated :)
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