Diwali, also spelled Divali, one of the major religious festivals in Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism, lasting for five days from the 13th day of the dark half of the lunar month Ashvina to the second day of the light half of the lunar month Karttika. (The corresponding dates in the Gregorian calendar usually fall in late October and November.)
The Diwali festival ought to symbolize the victory of light over darkness. However, in practical terms, we see some sort of victory of darkness over light.
During the Diwali festival, Hindus in general cause tremendous distress to animals by fireworks displays, whilst others flip over the edge and willfully turn their festival into one of cruelty and torture to animals.
Firecrackers bring nervous breakdowns to dogs and cats, while birds and even cattle feel the after-effects of the Diwali festival. The Deccan Chronicle provides the following report:
“Diwali is the most traumatic period for animals. While we cannot provide shelter and safety for all animals, we can at least spread awareness and appeal to the people to celebrate this Festival of Lights with lights and not with firecrackers. We can celebrate it by lighting lamps and respect the lives of the animals,” according to Gowri Vandana from the Association for Animal Shelter and Rescue Aid.
She added: “There are some people who tie crackers to stray dogs set them off causing burn wounds on the dogs and practically scare them to death. We see incidents of such cruelty every year.”
According to Dr Madhusudhan, assistant director of the animal husbandry department, firecrackers are the stuff of nightmares for animals and birds.
“The sudden rise in pollution affects birds as do bright lights. Cows and buffalos are also among the animals that get severely disturbed by the bursting firecrackers. Typically, during the Diwali period, their milk output falls; we also notice gastrointestinal problems among cattle. Sometimes, pregnant cattle also suffer sudden abortions because of the stress induced by fireworks,” Dr. Madhusudhan said.
Another journalist says:
‘Diwali is basically like a terrorist attack for frightened, traumatized animals and birds – it wouldn’t be a gross eye-rolling exaggeration to say this. With no context or comprehension for the sudden madness, the thunderous sound of non-stop crackers and smoke is a calamity for them.
Ask any veterinarian, and they will tell you that the cases of animal injuries shoot up every year after Diwali. Not to mention the cries for help on Facebook and WhatsApp with pictures of injured dogs and news of children tying crackers to their tails.
Fireworks displays during Diwali are very common and have become synonymous with the festival. Recently, spokespersons of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Swadeshi Jagran Manch opposed the ban on firecrackers imposed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), saying that “use of crackers is deeply linked with Diwali celebration.” An environmental call is often projected as an attack on Hinduism. Yet, other Hindu activists feel differently:
‘But there is not a single proof whether people of Ayodhya had burnt fireworks on the arrival of Lord Ram. However, there are strong scriptural proofs of people lighting diyas. Burning of firecrackers also finds no mention in Ramayana or other scriptures.’
The sad on the ground reality:
“Pakad saale ko, jaldi jaldi, ghusa peechey!” (Catch that rascal and shove it up behind him.)
I came across a bunch of teens trying to catch a young dog by his tail. It was Diwali night, about three years ago. I was walking down the street to attend a celebration at a friend’s place in Rajouri garden when I heard a dog screeching. After a moment, I realized what was happening. The boys, who were probably aged 15-17, had grabbed the dog from behind and were trying to insert a cylindrical bomb in his anus.
Disgusted and terrified, I shouted at them. Startled, the boys released the dog which ran as fast as it could to save its life. When I asked the teens what they were up to, they just replied casually: “Kya didi? kutta hai.” (What sister? It’s just a dog.)
If fireworks displays are not part of Diwali celebrations, why do Hindus engage in it so passionately, spending thousands and thousands for so much cruelty and torture? Bans and laws seem in vain and concerns raised about the matter are brushed off as being intolerant. What is really bothersome about the whole animal abuse saga is that some animals in Hinduism are seen as holy carriers of the gods, even dogs. What kind of practical implementation of Hindu ‘tolerance and respect’ is this?
The merciful teaching of Islam: Muhammad Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam taught humanity what kindness to animals means and part of his mercy to the worlds is reflected upon the animal kingdom too.
“Do not take any living being as a target.” (Muslim 1957).
“We were on a journey and during the absence of the Messenger of Allah, we saw a bird with its two chicks; we took them. The mother bird was circling above us in the air, beating its wings in grief. When Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam returned he said, “Who has distressed this bird by taking it’s chicks? Return them to her.” (Abu Dawud)
“A woman was punished because of a cat which she imprisoned until it died, and she entered Hell because of that. She did not feed it or give it water when she imprisoned it, and she did not let it eat from the insects of the earth.” (Muslim 2242).
“A man felt very thirsty while he was on the way, there he came across a well. He went down the well, quenched his thirst and came out. Meanwhile he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. He said to himself, ‘This dog is suffering from thirst as I did.’ So, he went down the well again and filled his shoe with water and watered the dog. Allah appreciated his deed and forgave him. The people said: “O Allah’s Messenger! Is there a reward for us in serving the animals?” He replied: “Yes, there is a reward for serving any animate (living being).” (Al-Bukhari 2466).
Hindus claim to be tolerant and caring, but the Diwali festival reflects the total opposite. This is probably one of the major problems with polytheism – living a life of mixed feelings, contradictions and hedonism, ultimately leading to confusion, depression, and suicide.
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- https://www.britannica.com/topic/Diwali-Hindu-festival ↑
- https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/in-other-news/111120/pets-can-suffer-nervous-breakdown-due-to-lound-sounds-of-firecrackers.html ↑
- https://theprint.in/opinion/how-to-keep-dogs-safe-this-diwali-without-offending-your-religion/311460/ ↑
- https://theprint.in/opinion/pov/if-not-pollution-hindu-groups-still-have-2-good-reasons-to-support-firecracker-ban-on-diwali/543493/ ↑
- https://www.india.com/viral/firecrackers-ban-is-bursting-firecrackers-really-an-integral-part-of-diwali-tradition-no-it-isnt-heres-how-4207075/ ↑
- http://www.catchnews.com/social-sector/diwali-a-festival-of-lights-for-us-and-darkness-for-animals-diwali-cruelty-dogs-birds-cows-1447150119.html ↑
- According to Hindu mythology, deities possess the ability to be in any part of the Universe in any instant. Their animal vehicles participate in the mission of the gods and goddesses, and they also have a role and purpose in creation. They help the deities to uphold Dharma by performing several obligatory and secondary duties. Vahanas (sacred animal carriers) are considered to be of divine nature and are worshipped as sacred carriers. Lord Kala Bhairava, a manifestation of Shiva, has chosen a dog as his vehicle. In fact, dogs have always been associated with different forms of Shiva. It is even believed that dogs are an incarnation of Bhairava. Kala Bhairava is called protector, as he guards the eight directions of the universe. In all Hindu temples there is a Bhairava idol. He is seen as the guardian of the temple, and when the temple is closed, the keys are placed before him. Bhairava is also described as the protector of women. Goddess Bhairavi is the consort of Lord Kala Bhairava. She is one of the 10 Mahavidyas and also called Tripurabhairavi. Tripura Sundari and Tripura Bhairavi are closely associated but different. [https://newsfrombhavin.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/dog-worship-the-vedas/] ↑