Growing up in India, the festival of Diwali meant new clothes, a boatload of sweets and firecrackers and a whole lot of family, friends and neighbors to celebrate the festival with! We didn’t really know why we celebrated it but were thrilled with the celebrations. It meant a lot to us that we could light lamps, firecrackers and rockets! My Muslim friends would celebrate Diwali with us, and their parents didn’t seem to object! After all, this was an Indian festival! Aah, those days!!

At some point, I’m not sure when and why Diwali became a PURELY Hindu festival! The festivities were getting to be restricted to Hindus! The fact that Diwali was, in the past, the one festival that unified a nation was lost on the populace. Unification of a nation was put on the back-burner while a few communal leaders re-started the politics of festivals! Festivities lost their meaning in the muddled politics! Enter, environmentalists and animal rights activists!

Before I say anything more, let me make it very clear I am an animal rights believer! My family has, from when I can remember, had canine babies in our house. Whether they were little puppies or mature canines, we were taught to treat them as babies! We still do! My grandparents owned a cow, for many years, until they passed away. Yes, we were taught to respect, even pray, to these animals as well as for their welfare. That being said, no one restricted us from celebrating our favorite festival! We would be gone for hours, from one friend’s house to another, not caring whether they were Hindu, Muslim, Christian or any other sect. After all, we were friends!!! The Supreme Court never passed a law, at that time, to restrict our celebrations nor were any of us arrested!

While the environmentalists preach about carbon emission, the animal rights activists(ARA) talk about effects on the poor animals! Completely with you, my dear ARA; yes, we should think about the effects! While you’re at it, can we also ask the US of A to stop the firecrackers on the 4th of July? After all, regardless of whether it’s the USA or India, animal rights need to be protected, No? Unless there is an ulterior motive behind your protests, you’d have to agree with me! Especially since the 4th of July celebrations are not restricted to one day(my fellow American Indians know what I am talking about)! I have yet to see protests about the carbon emissions or about the effects on poor animals!

The USA celebrates two festivals Thanksgiving and Christmas, during which the ARA seem to disappear! Thanksgiving also means the turkeys are petrified as they know they are going to end up on someone’s dining table while during Christmas the cattle(cows, chicken and pigs) are petrified but no ARA are seen near the slaughterhouses! This leads me to believe the ARA are either a little slow or are being selective! In India, the chicken and cows are petrified when Id comes by! No ARA!! Likewise with Christmas!

With all these selective protests, it is abundantly clear that it is not the environment nor the animals the Environmentalists/ARA is concerned about! It is purely a Hindu thing that needs to be stopped! When an actress talks about asthma during Diwali but is caught smoking, what else can it be? The fact that this actress never complained about the 4th of July (she lived here in the USA) is not lost on the intelligent people in India! Unless we, the people, decide to do something about these protests, we are going to be witnesses to a festival dying!

Happy Diwali!

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