Chennai upset over SC restriction on fire crackers

Chennai upset over SC restriction on fire crackers


Residents of this southern metropolis have always celebrated Deepavali early in the morning by bursting crackers immediately after taking the traditional oil bath. But, the Supreme Court restricting bursting of fire crackers to two hours – 8 pm to 10 pm – might come as a dampener to those celebrating the ‘festival of light’ in the traditional fervour.

Not just in Chennai, majority of the people in Tamil Nadu burst crackers through the day on Deepavali – some even start celebrating as early as 4 am in the morning – and wait for the night only to see fancy crackers go up in the sky. The practice of bursting crackers early in the morning is prevalent in other parts of Southern India, including in northern Karnataka.

Many Chennai residents who spoke to DH expressed disappointment at the Supreme Court imposing restrictions on bursting of crackers, saying the court was “punishing the entire country” for the pollution in Delhi.

Meenakshi Sundaram (90), a retired headmaster who has lived in Chennai for the past 30 years, says he usually wakes up to the sound of crackers on the day of Deepavali. “Though I hate waking up to crackers’ sound, restrictions on the day of Deepavali is not acceptable. Waking up in the morning and bursting crackers is part of the age-old tradition, and the court should have kept in mind the culture of all states,” he told DH.

For many, the time restriction means no Deepavali at all. “I am used to bursting crackers in the morning and going out with friends in the evening. Some crackers are made to be burst in the morning. If these new rules are implemented, I don’t see any fun this Deepavali,” Sathish Kumar, an engineering student, said.

K Vasudevan of Chennai says as a Chennaiite, the Deepavali tradition is to burst crackers and fireworks as soon as taking the traditional oil bath. “Children burst small crackers during the day and now that's entirely gone. Bursting of crackers between 8 and 10 pm in Tamil Nadu has no significance traditionally,” he said.

Senior advocate and BJP leader Vanathi Srinivasan, too, echoed the sentiments and hoped that the Supreme Court will modify its order to ensure that the tradition of celebrating Deepavali through the day is continued.

“The court seems to have kept in mind the pollution in Delhi while giving the order. Bursting of crackers in the morning and through the day on Deepavali is a cultural practice and belief of the people. We hope the court modifies its order keeping in mind the belief of the people of Tamil Nadu,” she told DH.

DH News Service