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| Last Updated:: 27/10/2014

Villagers give up firecrackers on Diwali for their winged friends

 SALEM/ERODE: Two villages in Salem district, Unathur near Thalaivasal and Agraharam Nattamangalam, have been celebrating cracker less Diwali for more than a century. This year too, they have given up their wishes for bats and birds.


"We have not celebrated Diwali in more than 100 years. Diwali is usually celebrated only with crackers and fireworks. It is almost impossible to celebrate the festival without the noise of crackers. But we have given up that for the sake of thousands of bats living in the area," said P Mahesh, a villager from Unathur village. He said there was a huge banyan tree in the village and thousands of bats lived on it. "We do not celebrate any festival in our village by bursting crackers," he said and added that the wellbeing of the bats was more important to the villagers than enjoyment.


The villagers in Agraharam Nattamangalam also revere bats as their guests. "We do not see the bats as just animals but our guests. They do not harm us or create any nuisance in the village and so we do not want to disturb or trouble them in any way," said M Ganesan, another villager from Agraharam Nattamangalam.


In Erode district, residents of eight villages near Vellode Birds Sanctuary (VBS) have given up crackers during Diwali for the past 15 yeaars so that they do not disturb the various migratory birds visiting the sanctuary in winter.


"Different kinds of birds from faraway countries like Australia and New Zealand come to VBS during October to January," said S Munusamy, a villager from V Mettupalayam. "Earlier we would burst crackers but once we realized that the noise scared the birds away, we decided to refrain from celebrating a noisy Diwali. Now that there is no noise, we get to see so many birds every year," he added. He said every Diwali insead of bursting crackers, villagers visited VBS and fed all the birds. "That is how we celebrate Diwali our way," he said.