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CHILDREN SAY NO TO CRACKERS FOR HINDU FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS IN INDIA'S NORTHERN AMRITSAR CITY. (TAPE NO: 031)

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Story number: ANI20091013030

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NATURAL WITH HINDI SPEECH DURATION: 1.54 SOURCE: ANI TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS: NONE Children say no to crackers for Hindu festival of lights in India's northern Amritsar city. Students take out a rally to spread the message of making the Hindu festival of lights free from polluting crackers in India's northern Amritsar city. SHOWS: AMRITSAR, PUNJAB, INDIA (OCTOBER 13, 2009) (ANI-ACCESS ALL) 1. CHILDREN RAISING SLOGANS "WE DON'T HAVE TO BURN CRACKERS" 2. CLOSE UP OF POSTERS READING "NO CRACKERS, NO POLLUTION" 3. STUDENTS HOLDING BANNERS 4. VARIOUS OF STUDENTS SHOUNTING "WE HAVE DECIDED NOT TO BURN CRACKERS" 5. (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) SHIWANI, A STUDENT, SAYING: "Already there is so much of pollution we can't breathe, we should not add to the pollution by burning crackers. Please don't burn crackers, celebrate Diwali safe by lighting earthen lamps. Please don't burn crackers." 6. CHILDREN SHOUTING ANTI-CRACKER SLOGANS, "EAST OR WEST CRACKERS ARE NOT BEST" 7. (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) SEHJAL, A STUDENT, SAYING: "The way global warming has increased, we will have to control pollution. Every year we burn so many crackers during Diwali and the pollution increases so much that people die of it. Therefore, we should celebrate Diwali with traditional earthen lamps so that there is no pollution and no people die from it." 8. A POSTER READING 9. LONG VIEW OF CHILDREN STANDING WITH POSTERS STORY: With Diwali or the festival of light just round the corner, the students staged a rally to spread the message that the festival is best celebrated by keeping it pollution and noise free at Amritsar in India's northern Punjab state. With slogans like "east or west, crackers are not best", the students of S. L. Public School not only pledged to say No to crackers but also to discourage the practice of burning crackers among masses during Diwali. Children love burning crackers during Diwali and there is a sort of competition among them who will burn the most expensive and the most noise-making crackers. During the festival, crackers add to city smog. People with respiratory problems like asthama, infants and elderly and those allergic to pollutants directly suffer from it. So, ahead of the festival, which is on Saturday (October 17), children are doing their best in persuading people to celebrate the festival in more traditional way by lighting earthen lamps and shunning the crackers. "Already there is so much of pollution we can't breathe, we should not add to the pollution by burning crackers. Please don't burn crackers, celebrate Diwali safe by lighting earthen lamps. Please don't burn crackers," said Shiwani, a student. The incidents of people getting injured while bursting powerful ear deafening crackers always loom large and there have been reports of people losing their life either due to a high level of pollution in the atmosphere or accidentally while indulging in cracker bursting. "The way global warming has increased, we will have to control pollution. Every year we burn so many crackers during Diwali and the pollution increases so much that people die of it. Therefore, we should celebrate Diwali with traditional earthen lamps so that there is no pollution and no people die from it," said Sehjal, a student. The school has been conducting the awareness drive for the last seven years and hopes their small efforts will go a long way in encouraging people to celebrate safe and pollution-free Diwali. Traditionally, Hindus illuminate their houses by lighting earthen lamps or candles on the day of Diwali. The festival is celebrated to welcome the Hindu God Rama's return to Ayodhya after completing 14 years in exile and after defeating 10-headed demon king Ravana. Another legend has it that celebrating Diwali pleases the Hindu Goddess of Wealth, Laxmi, who visits people's houses on this night and blesses them with prosperity.

Ref: ANI20091013030

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