Being an ardent Basant fan of the good old days I was fascinated to see a vendor displaying an eagle shape kite made in China, in a photograph which appeared in an English daily a few days back. Except for use as a decoration, what worth these foreign kites are if they cannot be flown even on the forthcoming grand festival of Basant. Kite flying is a popular sport in Asian countries especially India and some countries in the Far East including China and Japan where periodical kite flying competitions are held. It is unfortunate that a highly enjoyable sport is banned in Pakistan on account of some tragic ‘throat slitting incidents’ caused by the kite wire.

In the pre-partition days the Basant was celebrated with gaiety and splendor. Apart from all sorts of festivities the people dressed themselves in basanti (yellow) apparel while the sky used to be studded with multi coloured kites flown from almost every rooftop. Despite such a large scale kite flying we never heard of a throat slitting or wounding incident. Just as all types of lawlessness is flourishing in Pakistan, these tragic incidents are also taking place on account of the casual, careless and lenient attitude of the government. Some unscrupulous manufacturers of kite-wire (dore) are applying a dangerous chemical substance on the wire which makes it knife sharp to cause fatal injuries. How difficult it is to detect, arrest and punish them is the million dollar question? Since our authorities have failed to apprehend the thieves, robbers, murderers, target killers and other criminals to create a secure and peaceful atmosphere in the country, how could they possibly locate and arrest the criminal wire makers? The government thus found it expedient to adopt the easy course of banning kite flying. Depriving the millions of people from enjoying a fun sport is not their consideration. What a shame?

As I reached the tail end of writing this letter an interesting incident took place in this respect. A thirteen years old school boy was arrested for catching/handling a kite and kept behind the bars for one night. What a prompt action by police to snub “a heinous crime”?

RAFI NASIM,

Lahore, February 13.