Despite numerous state governments taking action to forbid the use of firecrackers in order to reduce air pollution, the enthusiasm of many people to celebrate Diwali by setting them off is still strong. Lighting firecrackers has evolved into a crucial and unavoidable component of Diwali celebrations all around the nation. Meanwhile many propagate a narrative that firecrackers were invented during the Muslim era and were imported from China as well. In this article, we will be knowing more about the myths and aspects of firecrackers being a part of our festival Deepavali.

Bursting fireworks has always been a fundamental and important aspect of Diwali. The assumption that gunpowder (also known as fireworks) was created in China in the ninth century and transported to India by Muslim sultans is at the very heart of this entire MYTH.

This THREAD dispels this common MYTH and sheds light on the obscure or untold history of Deepavali and gunpowder. Through, this myth is so pervasive that many people refer to gunpowder as one of “the “Four Great Inventions” of China.”

When we look at the Chinese sources themselves for the history of gunpowder, this myth begins to break apart. Chinese sources claim that an Indian Buddhist monk introduced China’s gunpowder technology.

He found saltpeter-containing soils in China in 664 CE (the primary constituent of gunpowder). Chinese studies on the chemistry of saltpeter provide proof that it is an Indian product. Of course, this does not imply that China has made no contributions to the development of gunpowder. They created inventions and improvised.


However, India was where China first learned about gunpowder. Even the ardent Sinophile scholar Roger Pauly acknowledges “Indian inspiration.” This should not surprise anyone who is familiar with Indian literature. There are numerous references to what could be considered an early kind of gunpowder in Indian literature.

Before starting the conversation on Dipavali, let’s take a closer look at these references. The Mahabharata’s narrator, Vaisampayana, explains how ancient Indians produced smoke balls using what many experts believe to be gunpowder.

A medieval interpreter of the passage claimed that the aforementioned smoke balls were in fact formed of gunpowder. The same components still used to make gunpowder today are those mentioned in Atharvanarahasya: charcoal, sulfur, and saltpeter.

Workers at Sivakasi still utilize these components to manufacture pyrotechnics even today. Even now, traditional manufacturers still use this process to produce Diwali fireworks. The traditional Andhra fireworks manufacturer is demonstrated in this video.

Although this kind of cracker is straightforward, it is nonetheless highly popular.
The Andhra maker in the video above creates straightforward fireworks with minimal ingredients.

1. Saltpetre in Telugu is known as Suryakara.
2. Gandhaka (, ) equals sulfur.
3. Sand.

The Indic Saltpetre, which has Sanskritic roots, is used by the Indian firecracker makers in Andhra and Sivakasi. They don’t use the Persian name for saltpeter imported in the middle ages, Shora.
To assert that Native Americans couldn’t make simple fireworks for themselves when they have all the necessary elements since antiquity requires a very colonized mindset.

We have already seen that Indians were knowledgeable about the usage of saltpeter and gunpowder and were perfectly capable of producing their own pyrotechnics.

Now, Why is Diwali celebrated with fireworks? What theology underpins this? These will be covered in more detail.

A fundamental aspect of Dipavali is the conviction that on this night, our deceased ancestors will return.

The ancestors were supposed to return on the night of Chaturdashi and Amavasya. They can see their way in the dark thanks to the light and noise. As a result, we light up our homes. As Skanda Puran mentions,

“उल्काहस्ता नराः कुर्युः पितॄणां मार्गदर्शनम्। नरकस्थास्तु ये प्रेतास्ते मार्गं तु व्रतात्सदा ।”

That means ” we should carry ulkas in our hands as we celebrate Diwali. This will reveal our ancestors’ journey.”

What does “Ulkas” mean? This word’s definition has evolved over time. It is translated as “firebrands” by GV Tagare.
[Firebrands were the forerunners of firecrackers].

Dr. GV Raghavan, a professor of Sanskrit and a historian, analyzes such verses and comes to the conclusion that celebrations for Dipavali have included crackers since the beginning.

He claims that their religious goal was to enlighten and reverberate the way of the deceased. The essential component of the Diwali celebration, according to Indologist Tracy Pintchman’s thesis, is lighting the way of one’s deceased ancestors with firecrackers and lights.

This is supported by the Ananda Ramayana as well. The epic Ananda Ramayana has been historically credited to Valmiki. It adds that during Lord Rama’s homecoming, fireworks were set off. Crackers that explode and shine in the sky are mentioned (gaganantarvirajitan). Ananda Ramayan is argued to be a 15th-century work in opposition to this.

However, the same Indologists who gave Valmiki Ramya a date between 500 and 100 BC (after Buddha) also gave these dates. The date does not determine legitimacy in Hinduism.

It is Abrahamic to say, “This practice isn’t old enough, ban it.” This is not how Hindu tradition actually functions.”

Such a notion can be found in Medhtithi’s commentary on Manusmriti 2.6 from the eleventh century.

He claims that a practice—in this case, setting off fireworks—that is truly carried out with an eye toward producing intangible benefits by people versed in the Vedas enjoys the authority of Smriti.

On the Tyagaraja temple in Tamilnadu, built in the ninth century, are these wall murals (perhaps of a later period). They show fireworks being used during festival celebrations.
A text called Bogar Sattakandam is credited to the Tamil Siddha Saint Bogar. Although he is typically dated to 500 BC, some contemporary academics place him in the fifth to seventh century CE.

Bogar explains how to make the saltpeter solution (also known as Vediuppu Cheyanir) for all varieties of Sarakku Vaippu. Everything from fireworks to gunpowder is described.

415 to 418 Sattakandam.
Firecrackers have traditionally been regarded as a crucial component of Hindu culture by both Hindu civilization and tradition.

There are several artworks created throughout India that depict Krishna celebrating Diwali by setting off firecrackers.

Here is one from a school in Rajasthan. It is argued that these artworks are untimely. These Krishna fireworks paintings date back to the 16th century, the earliest of which is currently on display.
However, it is exactly the point. Firecrackers haven’t been viewed in Hindu art or culture as an odd ritual that didn’t exist during Krishna’s time.
Krishna is depicted in a picture admiring Dipavali fireworks. out of Kishangarh (Rajasthan).

— Mr.B (@BharadwajAgain) October 24, 2022

It is worth questioning, from where these fireworks came in these paintings.
Is it possible that they regarded these medieval fireworks as the descendants of something that, in their memories, had deep roots in Hindu tradition and was a significant element of that civilization?

The famous Marathi Saint Eknath (16th century CE) mentions the firework celebrations during the wedding of Rukmini and Krishna as another example of civilizational memory. Among others, he talks about Agniyantra, Havai, Sumanmala, Chichundari, and Bhuinala.

They are still present in Deccan now.

Samarth Ramdas, a prominent Maharashtrian saint and Shivaji Maharaj’s guru, included descriptions of many fireworks displays in his Ramayana.
These fireworks include Ghosha, havaiya, nala, phula (phuljhari), and others.

The unavoidable conclusion is that all great Hindu artists, poets, and intellectuals were collectively mistaken and deluded when they claimed that fireworks were used in ancient India if we assume that they were imported during the Muslim era.

According to Skanda Purana, Ulkas should be held in our hands when we celebrate Diwali.

These ulkas were probably firebrands that had two uses.

1) Made a sound

2) A lit-up sky

Its earliest form, the Diwali festival with firebrands, must have existed for thousands of years.
Such Diwali firebrands are still there today.
Take the Odisha song, Kaunriya Kathi. It is a simple gunpowder-free Diwali firebrand. But it produces noise and light.

Such firebrands lit up the sky, which may be why some commentators referred to the Skanda Purana as.

This Mir Kalan school artwork shows a style that is similar to an older one.

Saltpeter was once put into firebrands at some stage, probably before the Muslim era.

Although these crackers eventually gained popularity, more traditional people continued to utilize firebrands, which is why there aren’t many references to this invention in ancient writings. Ancient Indian crackers were not the same as current crackers.
Today, almost everything used differs from earlier versions.

By applying this reasoning, one might as well come to the conclusion that nothing from Ancient India has any influence on modern culture because everything has changed since its historical origins. It matters that the idea was present.

The idea was to generate a lot of noise, light up the sky, and brighten the route to our dead ancestors on the night of Dipavali. This is stated in the Skanda Purana itself and is accurate whether or not Ulka refers to contemporary firecrackers.
This was not a concept from the Middle Ages or the 16th century.



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