Firecrackers, environment & verdicts of 'apex' people

विश्व संवाद केंद्र, भोपाल    16-Nov-2023
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Janhavi Naik
One can find numerous articles floating on the websites of prominent media houses, predominantly those with a left-leaning orientation promulgating the bursting of firecrackers as a supposedly hazardous celebratory activity which leads to hazardous air & noise pollution, but a large section of the people are entirely oblivious of the fact that bursting crackers is not just a celebration but a tradition in itself. According to a report pertaining to this issue, bursting firecrackers during the festival of Diwali is a Hindu ritual. It impart various references of Hindu scriptures pertaining to this. It mentions Padma Puran Vaisnava-khanda "उल्काहस्ता नरा: कुर्युः पितॄणां मार्गदर्शनम्। नरकस्थास्तु ये प्रेतास्ते मार्ग तु व्रतात्सदा ।।" "Diwali should be celebrated by holding Ulkas in our hands. This will show path to our ancestors [Pitru's]-" Here Ulka is Nothing But Firecrackers or Firebrand !
The same source refers Kartika Mahatmya which cited the same verity that 'Akasha Dipam' is mentioned as a mandatory ritual of bursting fire-crackers. In 'Kartika Mahatmya' fire-crackers are symbolically meant to lighten pitru's way unto their abode.
Furthermore, Professor of Sanskrit & historian Dr. GV Raghavan concludes that crackers have been a part of Dipävali celebrations since earliest times, their religious purpose was to illuminate & resonate the path of departed pitrs". Along with this, Ananda Ramayana, an epic that has traditionally been attributed to Valmiki, alludes that fireworks were burst during Lord Rama's homecoming. Moreover, verse 3.302-306 of Anand Ramayan too elucidate the bursting of crackers during Shri Ram's wedding procession.
As we have seen and understood the Right Side i.e. Sanatan side of this issue, now we can shift westwards and brainstorm over this while questioning whether practices like bursting firecrackers during Christmas, deemed ritualistic, precisely for Christians,let them explain....does bursting firecrackers on Christmas also leads to pollution, well let me explain.
Additionally, one must also delve into this also, why the extremely aware folks of society emphasize vehemently on one facet of the environment – air pollution – while neglecting other major issues such as noise pollution, deforestation, land degradation, and plastic pollution.
According to a news report, most Christmas sweaters are made of plastic and are likely to contribute to plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, an environmental charity has warned. Hubbub, a UK charity, found that 95% of the 108 sweaters it analyzed – taken from 11 high-street and online retailers – were fully or partially made from plastic materials. According to Biffa --------- waste management company --------more than 100 million rubbish bags are sent to landfills over the Christmas period and globally, the excess waste from packaging, wrapping paper, cards and food increases by 25 to 30% during the holiday season. Apart from this, deforestation is a major concern, according to a report, a total of 120 million trees that are being cut down every Christmas result in over 2-3 billion Kgs of Carbon Footprint, while in the United States between 35 and 40 million trees are sold during the Christmas season. Other European countries in total consume 50 million trees and Asian countries add up to another 40 million.
Despite varying demands every other year, the severe depletion of top layer of soil to deforestation of Pine and Fir trees along with the post-festival burning of these trees rather contributes to increasing climate change.
It's hard to say precisely which part of Christmas is the most wasteful because the reality is.... it exacerbates all significant environmental concerns. Christmas waste often includes huge amounts of food waste, unwanted gifts and household items, paper and plastic wrapping, etc.
Doed nature lovers will ever dare to raise these issues or will nature lovers ever muster the courage to file a PIL concerning the pollution on the occasion of Christmas...well they consistently adhere to their agenda, which excludes such considerations.
On one side, it is hard to find any guidelines or restrictions issued by the honourable supreme court or high courts (of any state) over the pollution occuring on the festival of Christmas, on the contrary , one can indisputably observe abundance of verdicts by court of justice (that is strikingly hurting the Hindu sentiments of this country). For instance, "No commandment crackers are needed to please god, observes Kerala HC, bars temples from bursting them", "Only 2-Hr Window For Fireworks, Cops List Rules For Sellers" another verdict says "Ban on firecrackers: Supreme Court refuses to interfere with Delhi government order".
Agitated by this, a PIL was filed in the year 2018 under which some points were there on which we need to emphasize on : "It is submitted that the festival of Diwali has religious and cultural significance to the following Indic communities:
a. Hindus of the Sanathan Dharma variant
b. Hindus of the Arya Samaj variant
c. Sikhs
d. Jains
The festival is celebrated in the North and South of India based on different traditions, while retaining certain commonalities such as lighting of lamps, chanting of prayers, exchange of gifts and bursting of firecrackers. While in the North, the festival marks the celebration of the return of Lord Rama, in the South it is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Lord Krishna over Narakasura. These beliefs and the traditions which they have given rise to and which have been practiced for centuries, form part of the religious and cultural rights of Indic communities under Article 25(1)."
It further says : "It is submitted that the National Capital Region belongs to all Indians, which is demonstrated by its cosmopolitan composition and demographics. Pertinently, Hindus of various traditions and from all parts of the country live in the NCR. At the very least, owing to the basis in the slaying of Narakasura by Lord Krishna, the bursting of firecrackers is certainly integral to the celebration of Deepawali by Hindus of the South who have lived in large numbers in several parts of NCR for generations together. The use of fireworks is not a mere merry-making activity, but is, in fact, a ritual which finds mention in several authoritative Hindu texts. The significance of the ritual is that the use of fireworks is believed to show the spirit of ancestors the path to heavens, which is similar to the belief behind the Obon festival in Japan and the Ghost festival of China."
It goes on to mention: "Arriving at the said conclusion, the Hon’ble Bench failed to apply the essential religious practice test as laid down by a seven-Judge Bench of this Hon’ble Court in The Commissioner, Hindu Religious Endowments, Madras v. Sri Lakshmindra Thirtha Swamiar of Sri Shirur Mutt. 1954 case which has been followed in several judgements subsequently in deciding whether a certain practice is entitled to protection as an essential religious practice under Article 25. The essential religious practice test requires rigorous examination of evidence, as opposed to relying on popular notions relating to a religious practice. In the Noise Pollution judgement, it is evident that no text was referred to arrive at the impugned finding. It was open to the Hon’ble Bench to take the view that no evidence was led in support of the contention that use of fireworks has a religious nexus to celebration of Diwali, instead of concluding summarily that there is no nexus."
Rendering a verdict without due consideration of evidence from both perspectives contravenes the procedural norms of the legal system—a principle widely acknowledged. Thus, the question arises: why did such a deviation occur in this particular instance?
On one side judiciary claims to rely on thorough legal analysis, precedent, and constitutional principles to make decisions, emphasizing a commitment to impartiality and legal integrity rather than on specific, predetermined references, while on other, when it comes to hindu sentiments,these parameters have always kept aside, why?
 Analysing potential bias in the judiciary requires nuanced examination, along with this delving into the question of external influences demands rigorous scrutiny & prompting introspection on whether the judiciary maintains impartiality or is susceptible to manipulation?