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Friday, March 1, 2024

Diwali’s Changed Form

There is a tradition in our country of talking about lights, sweets, happiness, prosperity and good fortune on the auspicious occasion of Diwali, but the irony is that in today’s times the meaning of Diwali has completely changed. The changed nature of Diwali now brings worries about pollution and traffic jams instead of happiness. The cultural traditions of Diwali have not disappeared but have adapted to modern sensibilities. It has a fascinating blend of cultural roots and contemporary aesthetics.

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By: Priyanka Saurabh

In the olden days, gift-giving during Diwali meant sharing homemade sweets and simple tokens of goodwill. Today the art of gifting has taken a glamorous avatar. Along with traditional sweets and diyas, you will also find modern gifts like fine wines, luxury chocolates and high-end gadgets. Liquor, once an unusual gift, has found its place alongside the traditional offerings. Diwali is deeply rooted in tradition and history; it remains highly relevant in contemporary India and among the Indian diaspora around the world for many reasons. Diwali serves as a reminder of cultural identity and heritage for millions of people, especially those living away from their country. This helps maintain a connection with their roots. For Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists, Diwali holds religious significance and is a time of prayer, contemplation and seeking blessings from the gods.

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Diwali fosters a sense of community and connectedness among families, neighbours and friends who come together to celebrate. It promotes unity and social cohesion. Diwali is an important economic event, with increased consumer spending on gifts, clothing and festive foods. It also has an economic impact on various industries, including retail and tourism. Diwali is celebrated by Indian communities across the world, making it a global festival that transcends borders and cultures. It is recognized and celebrated in many countries. In the olden days, the festival was a time to seek blessings from the gods, reflect on one’s actions, and strengthen family ties through rituals and prayers. Today, you will see that there has been a remarkable change in Diwali. While the spiritual essence remains, the festival has evolved into a vibrant, contemporary celebration. Today, it’s all about the smell of cocktails, the sound of music and the vibrancy of parties.

People have shifted their attention from the seriousness of religious rituals to the fun of social gatherings. Diwali parties with dance, music and laughter have now become a major feature. The cultural traditions of Diwali have not disappeared but have adapted to modern sensibilities. It has a fascinating blend of cultural roots and contemporary aesthetics. In the olden days, gift-giving during Diwali meant sharing homemade sweets and simple tokens of goodwill. Today the art of gifting has taken a glamorous avatar. Along with traditional sweets and diyas, you will also find modern gifts like fine wines, luxury chocolates and high-end gadgets. Liquor, once an unusual gift, has found its place alongside the traditional offerings. In recent years, there has been an increased awareness of the environmental impact and pollution of firecrackers during Diwali.

This has led to initiatives to promote eco-friendly and noise-free celebrations. Modern Diwali celebrations also include increasing awareness of environmental concerns. In the past, firecrackers were common, and the night sky would light up with colourful displays. Now, there is a shift towards eco-friendly celebrations, with many people choosing silent or low-emission fireworks, or even avoiding them altogether, to reduce air and noise pollution. If you look at it, there is not even a simple mention of firecrackers anywhere in the reports of many government organizations regarding pollution in Delhi. You will find the main causes of pollution and their ratio in different reports of Delhi, IIT Kanpur, and IIT Tehri in a Google search. Firecrackers are just an excuse, Hindus are the target. Hindu culture is on target.

Various festivals and traditions of Hindus have already been targeted. Non-Hindus are among the petitioners who are coming forward to ban firecrackers in various cities and states of India. The organizations which have opposed firecrackers are the ones taking foreign funding. The special thing is that firecrackers are not banned in those countries. Fireworks are not responsible for pollution in the reports of government agencies but in the media reports. Meaning this report is affected. What does it mean that air purifiers are available for sale on a large scale in the market since the discussion about air pollution in the country started increasing in 2010? Therefore, the common man of the country appears helpless and helpless in front of the careless system. In the modern era, firecrackers have a deep connection with the festival of Diwali. However, lamps have more power than firecrackers. Because the light of lamps remains for a long time. And they also do not cause pollution.

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Modern Diwali is a dynamic celebration that balances old-world charm with contemporary sensibilities. It reflects the changing lifestyle and priorities of people while keeping alive the essence of the festival – the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and the enduring spirit of togetherness that defines the Diwali season. Diwali, the festival of lights, captures the essence of Indian culture and spirituality. Its deep-rooted traditions, mythological origins and enduring symbolism continue to resonate with people of all backgrounds, transcending geographical boundaries. Diwali is not just a festival; It is a celebration of light, knowledge, unity and the victory of good over evil. It reminds us of the importance of inner light, compassion and togetherness in our lives. As Diwali approaches every year, it brings with it hope, happiness and the promise of a brighter future for all. (The author is a Research Scholar in Political Science, a poetess, Independent journalist and columnist)

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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