Basant and the Kite Plight- To be or not to be

Basant means spring in Sanskrit, a reference to the fields of blooming yellow flowers of mustard that grace the area as spring approaches. It is celebrated predominantly in the Eastern city of Lahore, Punjab as a mega festival. People celebrate it like a ritual with thousands of kites elevated into the sky and boisterous rooftop parties at night. ‘Basant’ had become one of the most attractive events in the provincial metropolis which is a tourist attraction too in the past. This auspicious occasion has been turned into mourning when people risks innocent lives by using chemical thread and metallic twine to add their joys, making it a fatal exercise.

Kite flying ban on Basant.jpg

However the festival lovers are annoyed by the Provincial Government of Punjab’s decision to impose complete ban on the manufacturing and selling of kites, strings and even kites-flying. More than a million of families are associated directly or indirectly with kite manufacturing business. They will also face trouble in quest of alternative means of earning bread and butter.
The Lahore High Court dismisses a petition seeking permission to celebrate Basant by quoting that the Courts cannot give anyone ‘license to kill’ in the name of Basant festival and kite-flying ordinance was promulgated for the safety of lives and property of people. During the period of 2006-09 at least 18 people were killed and 24 others injured due to kite flying. Wapda faced a loss of Rs5 billion, while damage to its grid stations was Rs57 million.

Basant Shahbaz Sharif.jpgPolice arrested the Kite Flying Association president and secretary for publicly announcing that Basant would be celebrated in Lahore on March 6 and 7 despite of CM Punjab’s strict warnings of indiscriminate action against the violators of kite flying ban. On the other hand during the crackdown, 18,314 kites and 2,014 string-rolls were seized from kite sellers and kite flyers from across the city of Lahore. Governor Punjab Salman Taseer welcomes the decision of Kite flying association to celebrate Basant and said that he would be a part of the celebrations.

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Now it is a matter of to be or not to be for the public. Government ban is enough to stop incidents of throat slitting from kite strings? The major responsibility lies on people themselves. Those who are keen to celebrate must understand that nothing is more precious than human life not even a cultural activity. It is their moral and social responsibility to make sure that they are not being detrimental to others property and lives.

Media can play a positive role in educating people & spreading the message of safety and security for all during the festivity if celebrated. People should warmly welcome the government’s decision if such activities were shifted to suburb areas of the city as Kite flying could be allowed in open places and grounds.

Image: Daily Times


15 thoughts on “Basant and the Kite Plight- To be or not to be”

  1. @Shakir,

    You have failed to see the spirit of my statement. I dont want Hajj to be banned ,but this ban on basant was done so on flimsy reasons in Pakistan.. This ban was placed pointing to the statistics of death or injuries that take place.. This ban was promoted by Mullahs who see their Religion being violated by a Hindu practice.. Sadly, the High Court,which is slightly on the right,which is very dangerous, upheld that view. If this principle is applied even Hajj should be banned,right? But, neither the Mullahs nor the Judges will consider it..

    Basant is part of Punjab. Basant is a festival of Pakistanis. Its really a shame that Pakistanis hate to be themselves and aspire to be like Arabs..

    Regarding why Kumbh mela should be banned, no Court in India will upheld such a ban on flimsy reasons.. Courts in India are strictly Secular..

    Arabs are a medieval society. Pakistani society is much better. India,I am talking about before Partition, had evolved very good societal structure and practices. Basant was a beautiful part of it.

    Next time Mullahs will ask that Women should be banned from driving saying that Women have a higher rate of accidents.. Should ordinary Pakistanis let that happen? Should Pakistan inch a little more towards being like Saudi Arabia?

  2. Since, Basant has been banned to save innocent lives maybe Hajj will also be banned as so many people get killed every year in stampedes.

    Its only fair.

  3. Maybe Shahbaz Sharif is one of those guys who can’t see others (especially boys and girls together) enjoying themselves. In Basant, many a romance has blossomed. In fact, years ago I saw this girl waving frantically at me (she was actually flying a kite). I went over and almost got hammered by her brothers, all of whom were built like wrestlers.

  4. It is just a political rift between PPP and PMLN and a vast majority of Lahore is suffering. Present and the Previous govts are least bothered for this festival. If Taseer had not given any statement in this regard it would not have been a problem for Shahbaz to allow this event but as i said it is a political rift it does not matter how many common citizens are deprived from their livelihood he will not let it happen. By just installing safety anntenas on motor bikes probably would have saved 90% of lives that were lost during last few basants, but as i said govt is least bothered about it because in all aspects a common man is sufferingand they dont give a damn about it.

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