Ra­vana gone, green mes­sage here to stay

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - [email protected] times­group.com

New Delhi: Ra­vana went up in flames on Tues­day even­ing, mark­ing an end to 9-day long fes­tiv­i­ties. But this time it re­leased lesser toxic residues in the city’s air, cour­tesy eco-friendly al­ter­na­tives used by sev­eral Ramlila or­gan­is­ers.

From em­ploy­ing au­dio sys­tems mim­ick­ing the sound of crack­ers to com­pletely giv­ing them a miss, and some us­ing scarcely avail­able green-crack­ers to oth­ers opt­ing for in­no­va­tive al­ter­na­tives like bal­loons and elec­tri­cal sys­tem, the cap­i­tal wit­nessed a rel­a­tively cleaner Dussehra cel­e­bra­tions across the city. An at­tempt on in­creas­ing the aware­ness about pol­lu­tion and plas­tic waste was also made by putting up an ex­tra ef­figy at most places.

At DDA Grounds in Sec­tor-10, Dwarka, where Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi par­tic­i­pated in the Ramlila cel­e­bra­tions—all three ef­fi­gies went up in flames in a mat­ter of few min­utes. What was dif­fer­ent though was the ab­sence of the toxic smoke filled with heavy met­als, and any burst­ing sound. Or­gan­is­ers had to an­nounce it to peo­ple that no crack­ling sound was ac­com­pa­ny­ing the ef­figy burn­ing due to the use of green crack­ers. Devo­tees were in­stead ex­horted to use claps to sup­ple­ment the “cracker sound”.

At the Red Fort fore­grounds, the winds of change were clearly vis­i­ble. “This is the first time in its 96 years of his­tory that Sri Dharmic Lila com­mit­tee has com­pletely given up on any kind of fire­works,” in­formed Ravi Jain, one of the or­gan­is­ers. “We did not use any fire­crack­ers in the ef­fi­gies. An 8-foot high dig­i­tal wall had been set up to dis­play “dig­i­tal ef­figy burn­ing”.

Across the road, at Nav Sri Dharmik Lila com­mit­tee event, the devo­tees could hear the noise of crack­ers be­ing put to fire. But to ev­ery­one’s re­lief, no real crack­ers were em­ployed. Au­dio sys­tems were used to sup­ple­ment the ef­fect of the fire­crack­ers. “The noise was mim­icked in the spe­cial au­dio record­ings played on the big speak­ers,” Rahul Sharma from the com­mit­tee ex­plained. They also used a 4th ef­figy of “Plas­tic devil”.

The In­draprastha Ramlila burnt an ef­figy of panch­mukhi (five-faced) pol­lu­tion snake, which rep­re­sented air, wa­ter and sound pol­lu­tants, sin­gle-use plas­tic and garbage.

Across the city, Ramlila or­gan­ised by Shri Ram­leela Com­mit­tee, PU block, Pi­ta­m­pura, used ‘cold crack­ers’ and elec­tric spark­ing to recre­ate the ef­fects of fire­crack­ers. “These in­no­va­tive changes don’t pro­duce much heat and pol­lu­tion,” Naresh Me­hta from the com­mit­tee said.

At Ramlila Maidan, the min­istry of hous­ing and ur­ban af­fairs me­chan­i­cally de­stroyed a Ra­vana ef­figy made of plas­tic waste. Ramlilas in Janakpuri B1A Block opted to use Ra­vana ef­fi­gies made up of bal­loons which were then popped by chil­dren.

San­jeev Ras­togi

A dig­i­tal dis­play stands tall close to a Ra­vana ef­figy at Shri Dharmic Leela Com­mit­tee

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