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EcoSikh Appeals for “One Candle One Family” at Gurdwaras to celebrate Diwali

Candles at the Golden Temple on Diwali

Nov 11, 2012; Washington DC: EcoSikh sent a formal appeal to Jathedar Sri Akal Takhat Sahib to mandate “One Candle One Family” for Sikhs who want to light candles at the Gurdwaras. EcoSikh survey revealed that majority of Sikh families light more than 50 candles in Gurdwaras during Diwali eve. These candles are mostly placed haphazardly around parikarma and nishan sahib and other possible places, letting enormous smoke and many accidents every time.

With a hope of receiving a message on Green Diwali from Sri Akal Takhat Sahib, EcoSikh referred to a wonderful example of the Daoists in China: Since China has become richer in the past two decades, people have begun to burn whole bags full of incense sticks which led to a permanent cloud of smoke over their historical temples throughout in China. But in 2006 the Daoist religious leaders declared that “three sticks are enough” ; one for Heaven, one for the earth and one for humanity and ourselves. This new guideline will take some time to be accepted by all followers, but already some temples are reporting hearing birdsong at the temple for the first time in many years.

Diwali, the festival of lights or the Bandi Chhor Diwas is one of the major festivals and Gurpurabs of the Sikhs. On Bandi Chorh Diwas, the long imprisoned Guru Hargobind was released from Fort of Gwalior taking with him 52 long imprisoned Kings, whose release was a result of the Guru’s wit. Every year Sikhs in India and all over the world celebrate this day by lighting candles and huge fireworks.

EcoSikh President, Dr. Rajwant Singh said, “the city of Amritsar and the Golden Temple building ought to be preserved environmentally at all costs for the next generations. They deserve to see the Golden Temple and the city of Guru Ram Das Ji as clean and glorified.”

Recent environment campaigns throughout the Sikh community and its headquarters like the Golden Temple, Amritsar has however made some sincere contribution in reducing the use of crackers during this festival in the past years and it will continue.

EcoSikh appreciates the efforts of SGPC for reducing the firework show to 15 minutes in 2011 and recent press release says SGPC has cut short the fireworks to 10 minutes at the Golden Temple. Read the exclusive report by Perneet Singh in the Tribune here.