Every year, huge effigies and firecrackers mark the victory of good over evil in Delhi-NCR, as part of the grand celebrations for Dussehra. Needless to say it adds to the already poor AQI, and increases noise pollution as well. But in Covid-19 pandemic, quite a few denizens will usher the spirit of this festival in eco-friendly ways.
Burning Ravana, digitally
With restricted Ramlila celebrations in Delhi-NCR, to curb the impact of Covid-19, quite a few locals have in mind to avoid crowded places and have thus come up with an innovative solution to witness Ravana dahan. Akanksha Pandey, a homemaker from north Delhi, says, “At home all these months, my husband and I have been teaching our 5-year-old daughter about our mythology. But, we don’t feel it’s safe for her to go in a crowded place to witness Ravana dahan. So, we have decided to make a digital Ramlila story with voice overs from her grandparents, at the end of which we will burn an effigy of Ravana on the computer screen! We want our daughter to know about our culture, and we also want her to grow up with eco-friendly values, celebrating all festivals in a green way.”
An effigy, you can eat too!
“Instead of noise and air pollution, if you can let good emerge triumphant with a symbolic cake, so why not!” – Prabhkeen Kaur, a Delhi-based baker
“Instead of using plastic, paper or crackers, I’ll be baking a Ravana cake, and cut it to celebrate Dussehra this year,” says Prabhkeen Kaur, a baker based out of Hari Nagar. “Over the last few years, I saw people making Ravana effigies from plastic and that cause so much pollution in my locality. So I’m taking the green route this year. Plus, it’s the need of the hour, with the pandemic having taught us the values of a clean and healthy environment,” she adds. Soon after she had put a photo of her Ravana effigy cake online, people have been requesting her to bake it for them, too. Kaur feels the cake serves an important purpose; letting her and her family stay safe at home and yet revel in the festive fervour. She says, “Instead of noise and air pollution, if you can let good emerge triumphant with a symbolic cake, so why not!”
Learn and make your own Ravana effigy
A green lifestyle needs to be passed on to our children, and celebrating festivals like Dussehra in an environment-friendly manner is therefore of great significance. This is what made members of The Stagecrackers, a Gurugram-based group organise a Ravana effigy-making class for youngsters, via a mobile app. “Pollution in Delhi is a widespread issue, and we want to teach our children about keeping their environment safe,” says Nidhi Lamba, the founding member of the group, and a resident of Gurugram’s DLF Phase 2, adding, “Because of the pandemic, parents aren’t keen to partake in Dussehra celebrations physically. So, we are organising an online class for kids to make the faces of Ravana at home from simple, recyclable materials. This will keep them engaged and also help them learn about the relevance of the festival of Dussehra.”
Author tweets @bhagat_mallika