Green Diwali, sure, but what about green Dussehra? Thousands of effigies are immolated every year in the city — across festival grounds and localities — which results in an alarming amount of air pollution. Hence, it is a good idea to opt for eco-friendly alternatives to the day’s celebration, like how some of the city’s localities have done.
For instance, the posh South Delhi residential colony, Sainik Farms, will not be setting Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghnada ablaze. “The residents did not want effigies burned to help tackle air pollution. We still wanted to keep a hold on the cultural and religious aspects, so we have opted for a 45-minute-long laser show that will depict the Ramayana. There’s absolutely no question of noise, or any kind of smoke. Other than respecting the residents’ wishes, I feel this is the need of the hour,” says Hardeep Bhalla, vice president of the Sainik Farms Resident Welfare Association (SFRWA).
The presentation — which a Bengaluru-based company will be facilitating — will take place at a private farm, and, Bhalla reveals, double the money has been spent on the arrangements compared to the amount that is usually spent on burning effigies every year. And, of course, residents are elated. Gulratan Singh, who lives in Sainik Farms, comments, “This is a first-of-its-kind initiative and I hope this becomes a precedent for all other localities of Delhi to follow. As residents, our next effort is to ensure we have a cracker-free Diwali.”
Similarly, the residents of South Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar are also going for a digital celebration, and completely abstaining from the burning of effigies. Lajpat-Nagar-IV-resident Ishita Roy applauds the initiative and says, “It’s nice to see residents taking responsibility for their actions and not depending on the government. It indicates that there is not just an increase in awareness, but also collective action. I genuinely hope more people are inspired to think of ways to keep traditions alive, while not harming the environment.”