Millions of Indians Break World Record for Diwali Celebration Amid Air Quality Concerns

Millions of Indians Break World Record for Diwali Celebration Amid Air Quality Concerns

Indi­ans set a daz­zling Guin­ness World Record by light­ing over 2.22 mil­lion earth­en oil lamps dur­ing the Diwali cel­e­bra­tion at Saryu Riv­er in Ayo­d­hya, Uttar Pradesh. 

Despite con­cerns about air pol­lu­tion, devo­tees kept the lamps burn­ing for 45 min­utes, sym­bol­iz­ing the vic­to­ry of light over dark­ness. The event was graced by the pres­ence of Yogi Adityanath, the state’s top elect­ed official.

The mas­sive light­ing cer­e­mo­ny was orga­nized with the help of over 24,000 vol­un­teers, pre­dom­i­nant­ly col­lege stu­dents. The Diwali cel­e­bra­tion, a nation­al hol­i­day in India, is known for its vibrant lights, social­iz­ing, and exchang­ing gifts. 

The evening is ded­i­cat­ed to a spe­cial prayer for the Hin­du god­dess Lak­sh­mi, asso­ci­at­ed with pros­per­i­ty and good fortune.

While wor­ries about air qual­i­ty loomed over the fes­tiv­i­ties, unex­pect­ed rain and strong winds improved the sit­u­a­tion tem­porar­i­ly, bring­ing the pol­lu­tion lev­els down to 220 on the air qual­i­ty index. How­ev­er, experts antic­i­pate a surge in air pol­lu­tion after the cel­e­bra­tions due to the cus­tom­ary use of fireworks.

In an effort to com­bat the coun­try’s alarm­ing air pol­lu­tion lev­els, offi­cials in New Del­hi took pre­ven­tive mea­sures by shut­ting down schools and impos­ing restric­tions on pol­lut­ing vehi­cles and con­struc­tion work. 

Water sprin­klers and anti-smog guns were deployed to con­trol the haze, and res­i­dents sought refuge in masks. New Del­hi, noto­ri­ous for its poor air qual­i­ty, espe­cial­ly dur­ing the win­ter sea­son, faces addi­tion­al chal­lenges from the burn­ing of crop residues in neigh­bor­ing states.

To address the issue, some Indi­an states have banned the sale of fire­works and encour­aged the use of “green crack­ers” that emit few­er pol­lu­tants. How­ev­er, com­pli­ance with these mea­sures has been incon­sis­tent in the past.

This year’s Diwali cel­e­bra­tions held par­tic­u­lar sig­nif­i­cance as author­i­ties pre­pared to inau­gu­rate a long-await­ed tem­ple ded­i­cat­ed to the Hin­du god Ram at the site of the demol­ished Babri mosque in Ayodhya. 

The demo­li­tion of the mosque in 1992 ignit­ed wide­spread Hin­du-Mus­lim vio­lence, result­ing in thou­sands of deaths. The Supreme Court’s ver­dict in 2019 paved the way for the con­struc­tion of the Ram temple.

Despite con­cerns about air pol­lu­tion, mil­lions of Indi­ans came togeth­er for Diwali Cel­e­bra­tion, break­ing a world record and spread­ing joy and light dur­ing this aus­pi­cious festival.

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