The recent Supreme Court ban against firecrackers during Diwali has received lot of flak. Some, have even gone on to suggest that it’s an anti-Hindu decision.
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
In the whole discourse, one thing became crystal clear. Many actually believe that firecrackers are an essential part of Indian ethos and banning them is an assault to our culture.
We did a bit of digging around and out that fireworks are a actually a Chinese import, not an Indian concept.
Firecrackers were first invented in China, sometime in the 7th century and later spread to other countries because of its popularity. The first evidence of gunpowder being used for fireworks display dates back to the Tang dynasty in China during 700 CE. Chinese believed that loud bursting sounds and lights would ward off and scare evil and notorious spirits away–a custom picked up by other cultures and countries including India.
Initially this practice (used first by the Mughals) was done to entertain the royals and the kings but gradually it assumed religious significance of symbolizing the victory of good over evil. Somehow it got tagged along with Diwali too.
Coming back to basics, Deepavali, literally means a row of lights, or lamps specifically.
Diwali is celebrated as it is believed that on this day Rama returned to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana and completing his 14 years of exile. To mark the joyous occasion, the citizens of Ayodhya decorated the entire city with the earthen lamps to signify the victory of light over darkness.
There is not a single proof whether people of Ayodhya had burnt fireworks on the arrival of Lord Rama but there are strong scriptural proofs of people lighting diyas. Burning of firecrackers finds no mention in Ramayana or other scriptures.
Bursting crackers was only a custom which got added later on. It later gained prominence with the coming up of Sivakasi as the Fireworks Inc for India.
Bursting crackers can be interpreted against Indian philosophy too!
As per ancient Indian philosophy, there are five elements that are believed to be the fundamental constitution of the universe–earth, fire, water, air and ether. And it is on human beings to keep these elements in balance, because when they go awry, violence, destruction, confusion and stress are bound to prevail.