AAP’s Community Diwali cut through class, promoted inclusivity and togetherness, and once again made citizens the main stakeholder in the government’s vision for a more breathable Delhi.
It’s not a new idea, but it’s a noble one. Community celebrations are deeply embedded with the essence of festive celebrations across the globe. Diwali itself is a festival of coming together in celebration of the victory of truth over evil. So, amid tremendous fanfare, Delhi CM Kejriwal-led AAP Government organized an innovative wave of community celebrations in Diwali 2019. Led by the landmark 4-Day laser show and musical fest, ‘Dilli ki Diwali’ was held in the central Connaught Place.
The community Diwali celebrations were backed by strong motivation towards a noble cause, checking air pollution.
The Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi makes innovative efforts to tackle the growing air pollution menace. Thus, the community celebrations of air and noise pollution-free Diwali. The government encouraged citizens to stay away from toxic firecrackers. It also helped them celebrate the festival in a way that checks air pollution. In the opening address, CM Kejriwal said each year people of Delhi burst firecrackers in large numbers ahead of Diwali. But in 2019, he had observed a ‘change’.
The Epic Community Celebrations
Thousands of enthusiastic Delhiites attended the celebrations. Senior politicos and bureaucrats including Lt Governor Anil Baijal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia registered presence. The event saw an awe-inspiring laser show, patriotic songs, and Ramayana narration.
Cutting across social classes, it was an all-inclusive carnival. Deputy CM Sisodia said, “Today, the entire (Delhi) gathered to celebrate community Diwali. It is the first time something of this kind has happened.” AAP’s Community Diwali decorated the colonial circles of Delhi’s Connaught Place like a newly-wed bride.
People from across the capital, rich or poor, thronged to witness the fantastic show.
The audience was enthusiastic to be a part of the festival. There was a clear spirit to contribute their bit to curb the pollution in Delhi. With good music, a positive vibe, and an extravaganza of food courts and flea shops. Furthermore, revelers celebrated the festival of lights in a new avatar. The event saw a laser show Ramayana, cultural performances from artists like Shilpa Rao and Palash Sen. Similarly, Delhi also witnessed a Yamuna Arti where citizens thronged with the same enthusiasm.
Cutting across Social Class barriers
An old adage goes that ‘celebrations are empty until everybody is a part of them’. Community Diwali is an example of the city coming together to ensure a more inclusive, and progressive future. It provided families from across classes the privilege to celebrate Diwali in togetherness. It enabled the same experience for Have-Nots as it did for Haves.
AAP’s Community Diwali in Delhi is a model example for building community spirit in any location across the globe.
It made fellow Indians come together to the same level celebration field and celebrate the festival that marks Lord Ram’s homecoming. Apart from cutting through classes, it also played on an important aspect of human psych to curb the urge to burst crackers. In an image-conscious society like India, it puts a lot of pressure when the community takes the decision to restrict air pollution by not bursting crackers.
It deters the individual from taking a selfish approach. Such community-based measures will help spread as much awareness as any other innovative scheme. Furthermore, this gives people the incentive of inclusivity in the mission of persuading Delhi’s population to have a firecracker-free Diwali.
Long Way to Go
Thus, the Aam Aadmi Party government’s pro-active approach in the fight against air pollution is laudable. Innovative experiments like odd-even scheme and community Diwali are an efficient initiation towards positive will in citizens. So, the first air and noise pollution less community Diwali of Delhi was a great step.
However, there are a number of things that the Delhi government needs to sort out. Although many of Delhi’s residents welcome the alternative Diwali. The community celebration, coupled with the Supreme Court’s firecracker ban could not keep Delhi’s streets pollution-free.
In fact, while such measures are commendable, we need stricter laws and more incentives to have a fruitful effect.
Also, such celebrations shouldn’t be restricted to just one part of the capital. They should be organized in multiple areas of the city to encourage more citizen participation. Moreover, the celebrations are unlikely to persuade the Hindu population to let go of an age-old legacy. Even if it results in toxic air, difficult to breathe the next day.
However, community Diwali should not be seen as against the right of Hindus to celebrate the way they wish to. It’s also an evolution of the way Diwali should be celebrated. Community involvement has also been the foremost vision of the Aam Aadmi Party for Delhi. Moreover, celebrations, where citizens are stakeholders in curbing the pollution menace, as noble a scheme as any.