Deepavali for children is synonymous with crackers. However, now a growing number of them seem to choose the light of lamps over the noise of crackers.

In a mode of celebration that is both eco-friendly and a return to the traditional way of celebrating Deepavali, many children prefer to spend their festival pocket money on sweets, gifts and lamps.

Crackers might be a treat to the eyes, but definitely not to the other sense organs, feel many.

“I am scared of crackers because they are noisy and can hurt, but I like lamps and sweets,” says seven-year-old Ayushi Sharma.

A pleasantly surprising number of people, barely into their teens, voice their concern about the environment, even as adults indulge in bursting crackers. Thirteen-year-old Veena Vishwanathan says: “I am an eco-friendly person and I believe that bursting crackers does no good in any sense. It is the main cause of pollution during the festival. A better way to spend Deepavali is to give money that you would spend on crackers to the less privileged.”

Rashi Dhilla, 15, says that she used to get crackers as presents when she was younger, but has stopped bursting crackers in the past four years. “I have taken the decision on my own as they are too noisy and bad for the environment,” she adds.

Many children also expressed concern over the involvement of children in the process of making crackers. Bani S., who is 13, says that she prefers a “quiet” Deepavali with her family because she is aware that cracker-making units employ children.

Among children are also many animal lovers who dislike crackers for the inconvenience they cause to the animals. Fifteen-year-old Abhay Sharma says: “Crackers scare my pets and are also noisy and disturbs my sleep.”

Swati Iyer, all of 13, believes that the no-pollution and no-child labour Deepavali should become the norm.

“This festival, let us take a pledge for the victory of the green planet over the evils of pollution and child labour,” she says. This message rings with a special significance as Children’s Day this year falls on Bali Padyami, the last day of Deepavali.

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