Image source: dnaindia.com
Deepavali, also known as Diwali, is the festival of lights celebrated across India with great excitement in welcoming the lord Rama-Chandra as he returned to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile, during which he fought the battle with demons and demon-king Ravana and won. In this way, it marks the victory of good over evil. People celebrate this festival by worshiping Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha, by distributing sweets, lightening and decorating their houses with candles, divas, and making rangoli designs. Bursting firecrackers has become the central tradition of this auspicious festival of lights.
Earlier lights were considered to be the main ritual on Diwali but don't know when and how it became the festival of bursting crackers. People, especially children, feel delighted by burning firecrackers. It is a favorite ritual that brings a smile to the faces of young ones. But does this smile can become harmful for our green planet? The obvious answer to this question is yes. Bursting of crackers causes smoke, which in turn causes harm to our environment. It harms not only our environment but also the people living on the planet. It is a cause of many health problems like Asthma, hypertension, flu, etc.
We all are aware that we are dealing with the pandemic called Covid-19 or a virus known as the Coronavirus. Even if a person catches flu or a simple cold, it becomes a matter of concern, fearing that they may be next to the line of catching the coronavirus. If we all are aware that those crackers are harming our health, why don't we stop burning crackers? Well, Various state governments have passed an order in this regard of banning the bursting of crackers on the eve of Diwali, stating that it is in the public interest as it causes a lot of pollution and health problems. They have a duty towards every citizen of the country.
Pollution will affect the health of Covid-19 patients too, which is a serious concern. But some important questions arise: If pollution and public health are the primary concern, why don't you stop burning crackers in marriages and on other occasions where people find burning crackers as a way of joy? Why only Diwali? Has the Government thought about those people who have their employment connected with the firecracker industry? Is only banning of bursting crackers justified? Why not selling? Does it not go against India's fundamental right to freedom of religion (Article 25-28)? Let's discuss it in further paragraphs.
IS BANNING OF CRACKERS JUSTIFIED?
Yes, its ban is justified looking at the current scenario in which we are dealing with the pandemic. Entertainment can't be given more importance than our health. But one thing is not cleared that why a partial ban has been put. Why for 2 hours had some state governments allowed the bursting of crackers? Pollution is pollution. There is hardly any difference between 2-hour pollution and whole day pollution. But the National green tribunal in the National capital region and Municipal Corporation of Mumbai has banned the use of firecrackers and fireworks in public space and private space with no exception.
Also, the National green tribunal (NGT) has directed all states and union territories to conduct a special drive to ascertain the sources that cause pollution in the view of Covid-19.
FIRECRACKERS- A BOON FOR MANY
Firecrackers are a bane as it causes pollution. Still, it is a boon for those whose income is connected in some way or other with firecrackers, whether it may be a manufacturer, stockist, wholesaler, or retailer. According to The Print, "India's firecracker industry is estimated to be around Rs 5,000 crore, with the majority of the production in Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu. On average, production has dropped by 30 percent," said TNFAMA president P. Ganesan. He added that many of the manufacturers take huge loans during the festival season." 
Why Government did not consider the livelihood of those dependent on the fact that this Diwali by selling the crackers they will earn so that their family could survive in tough times. This hotfoot decision of Government has caused a disappointment to many. If the Government had informed earlier about the firecrackers' ban, then this sudden shock and loss of livelihood would not have happened.
This spontaneous decision of the Government needs to be reconsidered. If it's a matter of public concern, then those who have lost their livelihood also come in public. But sadly, no one has a serious concern for them. They need to be rehabilitated. They need to be provided with an alternate employment source so that even their Diwali goes smoothly with the lights of glory and happiness.
Luckily, Madras court has passed an order stating that the Government needs to introduce alternative employment schemes for those employed in firework industries.
An order passed by Madurai Bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and B Pugalendhi said," Since several States in this country are banning the bursting of the crackers, which is ultimately having an impact over its manufacture that affects not only the fireworks industries/companies but also the persons employed therein and also considering the dangerous circumstances, under which, the employees are working in the fireworks industries, this court feels that the Central and State governments shall come up with a scheme, providing alternate employment to those, who are all involved in the firework industries."
At least the Madras government had taken a Suo Moto in this regard, which is appraising. Other state governments need to also look into the matter. Besides state governments, NGT also needs to look into this matter as it had put a complete ban on those cities and states whose air quality is moderate or poor. I agree with the prohibition on crackers, but on the other hand, the way in which sudden order is passed is not justified.
Even Madras' high court and Rajasthan high court have refused to interfere with the ban of crackers stating that Pollution will affect the health of covid-19 patients and will spread the Covid.
LOOKING BY THE PERSPECTIVE OF RELIGIOUS AS WELL AS POLITICAL ANGLE
Many believe that this ban on bursting crackers is an attack on the Hindu religion as Diwali is the festival of Hindus. And only in this particular festival why there has been a ban. No prohibition on banning crackers is done in any other religious practice then why only Diwali has been chosen. This controversy aroused because most states where the ban has been put are having non-BJP political parties like West Bengal, Delhi, and Rajasthan. Rajasthan Chief Minister has justified by saying that there is no intention of hurting religious sentiments of any particular community sect.
In his own words, "After Rajasthan, Odisha, Delhi, and Karnataka have also banned fireworks during Diwali because a pandemic affects people across religions. It is evident that pollution after fireworks will worsen the coronavirus. Ban on crackers goes beyond religious affiliations, and it is in the larger interest of humankind"
So we cannot say that banning crackers is an attack on the Hindu religion. The decision is taken to prevent more harm. Also, there is no violation of Article 25-28 because no one has been stopped from practicing, propagating, or professing their religion. There is no mention of the ritual of bursting crackers. It was around the 1700s that fireworks came to India. No evidence is there that burning crackers are a ritual in any festival. Hence there is no violation of articles 25-28.
The banning of crackers is justified in the name of pollution and health. In my opinion, it does not hurt the sentiments of any religious community. But the main point remains is the implementation of the same. Because this decision can increase the black marketing of crackers. A thorough check needs to be kept so that the coming 2021 had many bright and prosperous future aspects.
1. Why Diwali firecracker ban is an explosive combination of health, religion, politics, economics? https://theprint.in/economy/why-diwali-firecracker-ban-is-explosive-combination-of-health-religion-politics-economics/541982/
2. [Firecracker bans] Government should introduce alternative Employment Schemes for those employed in Firework Industries: Madras High Court. https://www.barandbench.com/amp/story/news/litigation/firecracker-bans-government-introduce-alternative-employment-madras-high-court
3. Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot justifies a ban on crackers, says it goes beyond religious affiliations. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/rajasthan-cm-ashok-gehlot-justifies-ban-on-crackers-says-it-goes-beyond-religious-affiliations-1738713-2020-11-06
1. Why do people celebrate Diwali, https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/common/diwali; accessed on 13 November at 9:45 pm
2. A brief and crackling history of fireworks in India, https://indianexpress.com/article/research/a-crackling-history-of-fireworks-in-india-4890178/; accessed on 14th November at 12:05 pm
3. Is Bursting Firecrackers Really An Integral Part Of Diwali Tradition?https://www.scoopwhoop.com/is-bursting-firecrackers-really-an-integral-part-of-diwali-tradition/; accessed on 14th November at 3:39 pm