November 9, 2015
We are at the time of the year when we celebrate the festival of lights known as Diwali. Nowadays, with Diwali come several awareness campaigns talking about making the festival a better and greener one.
But, not many practice what they preach, the residents of Kittaampalayam village of Coimbatore district have,
however for nineteen years now, been celebrating Diwali minus the deafening noise. This is their twentieth year.
Kittampalayam is located on the way to Karumathampatti from Annur (Coimbatore district). There is a tree in this village on which reside thousands of bats. At nights, they go in search of food and return to the tree to roost. The 3000 or so villagers do not burst crackers because it might scare the bats away. It is not just the elders, but little kids as well who do not burst crackers. .
Jothimani Ramasamy, the chief of Kittaampalayam village, makes it a point to distribute sweets and savouries to the children on Diwali. She was busy distributing the sweets when spoke to her today.
“There are thousands of bats in the banyan tree located in the heart of the village,” she said. “By evening, around 5 PM, they go in search of food, and come back by 4 AM. The bats trust us. They know we won’t harm them. That’s why they come back and stay in this village. We want to keep that trust. So, we decided not to burst crackers on Diwali. It was a great honour for our village when former President A.P.J Abdul Kalam came to our village, without the usual media and security entourage, to see the bats.”
“We do everything that people all over the country normally do on Diwali. We wear new dresses. We eat sweets. We visit our relatives. We just don’t burst crackers. That’s all,” she said.
The elders in the village said, “Credit goes to the children of the village. We told them to not burst crackers because it would scare the birds away. We said that if they want to burst crackers, they can go to their relatives’ house in the neighbouring villages and do it. The children said that they don’t want to burst crackers at all! They told us that crackers are not important when compared to the bats.”
Green and compassionate Diwali is not a distant dream anymore!