The Diwali celebrations have evolved in Guyana over the 175 years or so since the first Hindus landed in Guyana. However, the recent years have seen the ugliness of the ‘bombs”, squibs and firecrackers and other devices which now seem to work against the spirit of what our foreparents created as a contemplative and reflective festival.
Hindus in Guyana, especially those involved in the distribution and explosion of the bombs and firecrackers have to figure out how we deal with this modern day ‘darkness’ of the callous disregard for the people and the animals who are affected by the noise. While the noise is a symbol of the lawlessness which pervades in Guyana, do we just accept that there will be less and less diyas and more and more bombs as the years go by? Who are the importers? Which countries make these devices and who are selling them here? Are they smuggled in the same way that guns and drugs are smuggled in and show the failure of our authorities to stop smuggling?
The explanation that ‘Diwali in India is also loud and full of noise and injury’ might hold well with people who desire Hindus to become like modern day Indians. However, there is no religious requirement to make any of our festivals disruptive to the population. The police of course seem to have decided to let the bombs explode.
Perhaps many persons confuse the symbol of light with destructiveness of fire. There was a time in Guyana when police were not needed to protect Diwali celebrations. Now we hear of mandirs and individuals under attack by bombs and squibs. Would banning Diwali celebrations be part of our future so as to prevent the bombers and fire crackers from disrupting the enjoyment of the festival?
Are we going to just throw our hands up, and have Diwali destroyed by those who have other interests which are not peaceful?
Is there some analogy in this degradation of an important festival, a symbol of what is happening in other aspects of Guyanese life and culture?