An anti-science Hindu group is three days into a 9-day bonfire ritual they claim will purify the air
The Shri Ayutchandi Mahayagna Samiti, a
The organisation’s vice-president, Girish Bansal, was quoted by the Times of India as saying that the burning of mango wood with ghee made from cow’s milk would make the air cleaner. When asked for a scientific explanation, he pinned the lack of evidence on the very fact that no research had been carried out yet. Another member of the organisation, Gyanendra Agarwal, took things a step further by saying that the ozone layer above India had less damage when compared to other countries owing to the regular occurrence of rituals.
There is no adequate policy at the central level as well. In February 2016, the National Green Tribunal asked the Environment Ministry to promote more environmentally-friendly methods of cremation, like electric or CNG-based cremation, citing the damage done to air and rivers. However, there hasn’t been any significant progress on the issue.
Religion usually takes precedence over the environment in India. As a result of bursting crackers on Diwali, the fall festival of lights, vast quantities of smoke are released. Last year, the Supreme Court’s move to ban the sale of firecrackers during Diwali was termed “anti-Hindu” by fringe elements. The holy Ganges, which plays host to the ashes of dead Hindus and ritual bathing, is one of the most polluted rivers in the world.
If India can’t even save the water bodies that are venerated under Hindu tradition, there can’t be much hope for the rest of the environment.