Ban on Basant festival

LAHORE: In early March of every calendar year, to welcome the arrival of spring, the Basant festival is held in many cities of Punjab, with a little more enthusiasm in Lahore. Kite flying begins early morning and continues till sunset on rooftops and house terraces. Friends, neighbours and relatives start the tug for victory, filling the sky with numerous colours.

Much like others even I have some vivid memories of the Basant festival, joyful enough to make me laugh while also being a delightful reminiscent of the past. We have all listened to Fariha Pervaiz song Ye dil hua bo ka ta, but I have witnessed it in a slightly different manner. For some silent lovers, it works as a means to convey their messages to their loved ones through kites. The sight of kites adorned with contact details of one’s beloved with confessional messages was indeed hilarious.

Since 2007 Basant has been banned as the sharp string attached to the kites has caused loss of numerous precious lives of onlookers and passersby. Although after the ban, many have lost their means to earn a livelihood. In 2017 Faiz Mela which was held at Alhamra Arts Council in Lahore, the said issue was depicted through a theatre play, showing the suffering of the families who lost their businesses of kite manufacturing.

Though it is a valid point to debate on but still I don’t advocate Basant festival as nothing can make up for the loss of lives caused due to kite flying. But, on a lighter note, let’s observe a minute of silence to empathise with all the single ‘patangbaaz’ who will now remain single till the uplift of the ban.

Zoya Javed

Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2018.

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The comedy play featured prominent stage actors from the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad

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