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February 24, 2020

A negative approach to an innocent celebration

Islamabad

February 24, 2020

These days there is an ongoing debate on kite flying – along with news items of arrests and defiance on the ban - both supporters and detractors expressing their opinion on the print and electronic media as well as in conversations. On the whole, supporters far outnumber those who think kite flying is dangerous and want to have it banned, the majority favouring kite flying in general and the celebration of ‘Basant’ in particular. Celebrating the coming of spring should not be given religious undertones – it is a lovely season and there is no harm in giving it a joyous welcome.

Kite flying is basically a sport or entertainment for those who cannot afford or do not have, the facilities for other activities, so why deprive them just because of a few unscrupulous persons who use unethical methods. It has also been taken up by the well to do, who have adopted it to celebrate ‘basant’ with get-togethers, where friends and family are invited and a few free loaders are accommodated for good measure. The rest of the year they do not think of or indulge in this innocent pastime – but the underprivileged do.

Kite flying is not dangerous if some basic rules are followed - it is popular all over the world, with Japan, China and India taking the lead in organizing competitions of different categories – highest flying kite; largest and smallest kites; best designed kite and so on. Taking part in these affairs is fun and relaxation for the whole family. For the under-privileged in Pakistan it is entertainment at a very nominal cost and gives them some joy which is not generally their lot in life. Nearly everyone can scrape together a few rupees to buy a kite; string can be bought or collected from discarded kites or those which have been ‘cut,’ while everyone can yell ‘Bo kata’ excitedly and at the top of their voice when a rivals kite is seen floating away in the distance after it has been ‘sacrificed’ to better manoeuvres and kite flying know how! As for the thrill of chasing a cut kite, it is one of the best parts of the action – there’s nothing quite like capturing the booty, especially if there are others in the chase - and triumphantly carrying it back, hand held high and the wind blowing through the winners hair as he runs triumphantly back to base.

Let’s not make a mountain out of a molehill just for the sake of the expediency of kill joy persons. Accidents take place in all sporting events, so what is required is careful planning. Make safety rules and see that they are followed; assign ‘safe’ places for kite flying but let’s not ban the sport altogether. The livelihood of many people depends on it - they are carrying on the traditional work of their ancestors and hope to pass on their expertise to their descendants. The ‘kite flying’ we should ban is the one we indulge in metaphorically, at which we are experts, much to the determent of society and the country as a whole and which is going on in full swing these days!