Diwali season is synonymous with firecrackers in India. People of all ages are prepared with different firecrackers during the festive season, which have become a norm in India. Ever wondered about the origin of this practice? (Hint: not the people of Ayodhya)
Although Diwali or Deepawali is the festival of lights, there is no evidence of firecrackers being used before the Mughal period. The festival was celebrated mainly using Diyas or small earthen lamps all over. Only in Gujarat, fireworks were used to some extent. Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal emperor banned the use of lamps and fireworks in the year 1667.
P. Ayya Nadar. wikipedia
When India achieved independence, two cousins from Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu, Ayya Nadar and Shanmuga Nadar came to Calcutta in 1923 in search of their fortunes and worked in a match factory. They returned to Sivakasi and opened a match factory there. In the year 1940, the Explosives Act was amended, making the manufacture of a certain class of fireworks legal. The Nadars grabbed the opportunity and created first firework factory in Sivakasi.
The Nadar’s worked hard and promoted the association of fireworks with Diwali. The trend took off and by 1980, there were 189 factories in Sivakasi supplying fireworks all over the country.
The enterprise of these brothers has made the small town of Sivakasi a thriving hub of fireworks production in India and introduced Indians to some “explosive” entertainment for Diwali!
Title image: wikimedia