On Monday morning, New Delhi woke up to the news of Supreme Court's ban on sale of firecrackers till November 1. Though the apex court didn't ban bursting of firecrackers, the ban on sale of firecrackers, the court said, was to measure the impact of Diwali on Delhi's poor air quality.
Soon after SC's order, a string of reactions started pouring in from various sections of the society. While many debated whether the ban was really an answer to Delhi's air woes, others showed support in favour of apex court's view on the matter.
One of the critics of the order was famous fiction writer Chetan Bhagat. According to the writer, the full scale ban on firecrackers would deprive children the happiness associate with Diwali.
SC bans fireworks on Diwali? A full ban? What’s Diwali for children without crackers?— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) October 9, 2017
However, his following tweets questioned why "only Hindu festivals" were being banned. He also went on to equate firecracker ban with the "banning [of] Christmas trees on Christmas and goats on Bakr-Eid(sic)."
Can I just ask on cracker ban. Why only guts to do this for Hindu festivals? Banning goat sacrifice and Muharram bloodshed soon too?— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) October 9, 2017
Banning crackers on Diwali is like banning Christmas trees on Christmas and goats on Bakr-Eid. Regulate. Don’t ban. Respect traditions.— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) October 9, 2017
This didn't go down well with Twitterati who began to slam Bhagat for bringing in religious angle to the debate. One of the respondents was Congress MP and former diplomat Shashi Tharoor who pointed out that firecrackers are "unholy add-ons" to the festival of lights.
Your examples of practices integral to those observances; banning them would be like banning lamps onDiwali. Firecrackers are unholy add-ons— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) October 9, 2017
Many corrected Bhagat about the meaning and essence of Diwali.
False equivalence. Bursting crackers has nothing to do with the Diwali tradition.The very word 'Diwali' means 'light'. Lighting diyas=Diwali https://t.co/Lmsu45fAXV— Prerna Bakshi (@bprerna) October 9, 2017
Yes coz when Shri Ram returned to Ayodhya you (& those who read your books) were bursting Chinese made crackers to celebrate the homecoming? https://t.co/wQ7zPKey8P— Shehzad Poonawalla (@Shehzad_Ind) October 9, 2017
A few of the users pointed out the impact crackers have on the health of children and elderly.
Hi Chetan would you rather have your children suffer respiratory disorders instead? Don't force your idiotic fantasies reg Diwali to kids.— Priyanka (@autumnrainwish) October 9, 2017
It's a festival of lights. Not noise or air pollution. You're supposedly an IITian. Do you know what causes pollution? Burning crackers. 😡😡😡— Priyanka (@autumnrainwish) October 9, 2017
However, the novelist was unrelenting in his stand and also complained that he was being abused and trolled for his criticism of SC order.
Many people who describe themselves as open minded, liberal and tolerant are ganging up like a mob and abusing the hell out of me today— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) October 9, 2017
I have a right to have my opinions. If all you can do is give hate, threats and personal attacks in response, reflects more on u.— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) October 9, 2017
The writer also had suggestions to reduce the level of pollution instead of targeting firecrackers on Diwali.
It is one day of the year. Our biggest festival. Uber has saved pollution more than any ban would. Come up with innovations. Not bans. https://t.co/1XfDHatBjW— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) October 9, 2017
If you care turn off electricity in your house for a week and don’t use cars. On what basis are you imposing a ban on someone’s traditions?— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) October 9, 2017
Diwali is 1 day, 0.27% of year. pollution comes from 99.6% days of poor planning and regulation. Fix that. Not make 1 religion feel guilty.— Chetan Bhagat (@chetan_bhagat) October 9, 2017