Human Development Report by UNDP

This Diwali season, let’s focus on tradition, family — not smartphones

Diwali Celebration in India 2019 - How Diwali is Celebrated in India?

Central idea

Diwali celebrates relationships with traditions, but modern challenges like too much focus on oneself and lack of understanding hurt connections. To improve, we need to balance our personal space, be genuine, spend quality time, and fix how we communicate. Diwali reminds us to make our relationships brighter by fixing these things.

Key Highlights:

  • Diwali as Celebration of Relationships: Diwali is a celebration of relationships, encompassing various bonds such as family, friends, and societal connections.
  • Rituals Reflecting Values: Traditional Diwali rituals symbolize prosperity, good health, and artistic talents, emphasizing the importance of these aspects in our lives.
  • Relationship Cultivation Discourse: The academic discourse on relationship cultivation has primarily been within corporate contexts, like public relations and industrial relations.


  • Individualism vs. Collective Spirit: The modern emphasis on personal space and individual choice sometimes overlooks the importance of the collective spirit, leading to potential fragmentation of relationships and societies.
  • Understanding Relationship Prerequisites: A lack of understanding about the key elements essential for strong relationships, such as mutual needs and genuine intentions.
  • Time Investment: In the era of the “attention economy,” there’s a growing trend of seeking maximum returns with minimal time investment, impacting the depth and quality of relationships.
  • Communication Challenges: Poor language skills, influenced by smartphone habits, contribute to challenges in dialogues and conversations. The rise of “phubbing” (snubbing in favor of phones) can negatively impact relationships.


  • Impact of Individualism: Extreme individualist thinking can contribute to the breakdown of collective values, leading to the fragmentation of families and societies.
  • Relationship Sustainability: Genuine intentions and mutual needs are identified as foundational elements for sustainable relationships.
  • Time as a Critical Investment: Adequate investment of time, especially quality time, is crucial for the evolution and maintenance of relationships.

Key Data:

  • 2017 Study on Phubbing: Meredith E David and James Roberts conducted a study indicating that phubbing can lead to a decline in crucial adult relationships, particularly with life partners.

Key Terms for mains value addition:

  • Phubbing: The practice of snubbing others in favor of mobile phones, identified as a detrimental factor in relationships.

Way Forward:

  • Balancing Individualism and Collectivism: Finding a balance between personal space and the collective spirit to strengthen relationships.
  • Promoting Genuine Intentions: Emphasizing the importance of authentic emotions and intentions in building and sustaining relationships.
  • Conscious Time Investment: Encouraging stakeholders to invest adequate and quality time in various relationships, acknowledging its importance in relationship dynamics.
  • Addressing Communication Challenges: Recognizing the impact of smartphones on interpersonal communication and striving for more authentic and meaningful conversations.

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