Happy Diwali, IS IT?

by mynk on Oct 09, 2008      Category: Human Rights Tags: environment pollution child labor sivakasi

I am seeing a lot of thought about Green Diwali (if there exists any such thing) and child labor free crackers which is a good thing. I am sharing some info I came across so far -

I saw rather 'heartening' articles about the 0 child labor - media these days is like a 'keep' - but then you see how people struggle to make such documentaries and more so to get it out (they had to call a team from Korea to make the video as nobody in India would do it). Read the blog towards the end for further details.


The documentary is dated 2007 and I am 'not sure' if things have changed much. The trouble with the industry is that it is not safe even for adults as there have been several accidents and the chemicals are hazardous - obviously such places don't know 'concepts' like safety @ work. Guess there can't be natural crackers or a pollution free Diwali. Again turning back in time will help and celebrating Diwali like it use to be in olden times with just lamps! :) The good thing is one of the volunteers is trying to help the girl in the first video and is getting in touch with Manitham. I have requested her to get details of the current situation out there.

On an aside (since we are already OT slight digress may not hurt) -

India has the highest amount of child labor - so much for the shining India -  "India homes largest number of child laborers - at least 60 million out of the 290 million in the world!"


At least in the carpet industry there is an attempt with Rugmark but with its own limitations - not sure any such thing will work for cracker industry -


There are people (locals from sivakasi or nearby areas) who have written to me chiding this attempt to go cracker free claiming it will hurt the income of workers in Sivakasi. Probably need to visit the place and see for ourselves!

Happy (read safe, silent, brightened by lamps) & Prosperous (read progressive) Diwali! :)


A blog on the use of crackers during Diwali, Dussehra, etc. and the real situation at Sivakasi with respect to child labor. A documentary was made by a Korean team which I shall upload once I have permission from the NGO - Manitham who drove the project.


Happy Diwali, IS IT? 


On this auspicious day of Diwali I did like to share how certain few people choose to celebrate their Diwali. I know of people who travel down to Tamil Nadu from Bangalore to get good deals on crackers and brag about the "steals". Some of the "IT" companies now provide crackers to employees also!!! I even found a nice and useful blog on Tips on buying crackers. It's over decade since I have burst a cracker. I gave it up as a young teenager the minute I saw a documentary on Zee News about the Child Labor @ Sivakasi (I am not sure what it will take for you). I have seen today many sites speaking of ZERO child labor and stuff. These are rather heartening but I would not allow myself the luxury still... If it is not children the workers at such factories are at great risk and the accidents do keep happening (you may choose to ignore like the many others that you see in the paper each day). The articles below will give you ample reason to retain the doubts about the industries... The bottom line is you can always celebrate the festivals in a way that "God" if (s)he really exists would be rather pleased if we respected the environment and the safety of many. Be it Holi, Diwali, Ganesh chaturthi, or any other festivals - we could ensure our happiness is not at the expenses of such essentials... :) If you have already purchased the crackers and now have second thoughts which is good - you can always pass on the same to some not so fortunate children at some children's home... probably celebrate the festival with them and someone up above (possibly goddess Lakshmi) would surely be pleased! :) One interesting way could be to get together for some common fireworks in which case the pleasure is shared and the environment spared!!!  Some other good options at the end of this Post... An article from India today: http://www.india-today.com/webexclusive/dispatch/20011117/arun.html#top


The trailer of the documentary film as we work on getting the whole thing up:



Click on the Title for the complete story...

Another trailer

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mynk's picture


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sejal's picture

Nice post Mayank. I would one some more important draw-back of crackers - pollution. Not only air pollution but noise pollution as well. Crackers were born out of the intentions of making the festival of Diwali full of lights. But today's blasting crackers no more give any entertainment! Last year when I walked on the street outside my house in Pune, I was literally struggling to get fresh air. It was all blurry and full of smoke, I wonder what is it that they call as 'having-fun' with all these! Needless to mention about all the hazardous implications of firing crackers!

Pulkit and I had also prepared a poster [with all creativity that we are blessed with ;)]to spread awareness amongst our friends. You can find that here : http://pulzinponderland.wordpress.com/2007/11/06/this-diwali-lets-measur...

So.. Have a cracking Diwali - without crackers :-)

mynk's picture

Nice poster! :) I will include it in my post... I hope I get the permission to upload the documentary also!

mynk's picture

A nice way to celebrate the Diwali cud be buying the Diyas from some NGO. One of the mails floating in this regard is about Sambhava foundation -

Sambhav Foundation is a Registered Charitable Trust who’s mission of is to promote, strengthen and assist individuals/organizations working for children with disabilities or children from disadvantaged and deprived backgrounds.

The organization along with the trainees with special needs have made diyas for Diwali. The proceeds of the sale of these diyas will be used for the celebration of Diwali along with the special children. Kindly encourage the cause and spread the word around to all who feel for the mentally retarded individuals and their betterment. The order can be placed through mail as well. They are priced at Rs. 6/- to Rs. 35/-, ready to light.

For more details quickly contact Dr. Meena Jain at mbpsycho_ed@yahoo.co.in

mynk's picture

List of some places where you can buy stuff from -


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