Basant – the kite flying festival of spring – was supposed to be celebrated last weekend in Lahore but, at least officially, it was postponed because of the tragic Lahore bombings. But Basant season is obviously here. For good and for bad.
Basant is a festival celebrating arrival of a spring season. People dress up in colorful clothes and fly Patang or gudday (Kites) of various shapes and sizes using a thoughtfully selected and prepared dor(Kite String). Some people fly kites just for fun. Others fly in serious competitions among various families, mohalas and emotions can run high.
Basant always brings childhood memories from Rawalpindi.
We use to prepare for festival by â€œdor sotnaâ€ (preparation of kite flying string). It starts from selecting the string first. Strings come in many varieties like number 5, 2, 12 Reech (bear), Camel brand, Air blade, 5 panda etc.
Art of â€œdor sotnaâ€ involves many secret ingredients like special glue, string, glass, â€œsareshâ€, color and many other secret stuff. Then â€œdorâ€ is put on a â€œcharakrheeâ€. After that we use to go and purchase kites of various types like gudday, Patang, Lakhnow Kut, Pari in various sizes and colors. gudday come in sizes like 2.5 Tawa, 3 Tawa, 6 Tawa whereas Patang sizes are known as Har Githhi, Panch Gitthi, 6 Githhi, 8 Githhi etc. Then dor is attached to kite using a process known as â€œKanee Dalnaâ€. It is an art itself.
On Basant day, we wear colorful clothes and climb to roofs and have Patang Bazee. Shouts of â€œBo Kataâ€, â€œAur Dheel Dayâ€, â€œNazar a Raha Hay Gudaâ€, â€œOyay Chor Maree Door koâ€, â€œKhich Mar Na Yarâ€, â€œNeechay Say Neechay Say Paycha Lagaâ€ were norm. Due to very sharp â€œdorâ€, index and other fingers get very deep cuts. But those cuts were badges of honors and were proudly shown to people next day.
Basant is a fun filled festival. But every year many deaths occur due to kite string cutting somebody throat, electrocuting someone due to vicinity to overhead electric wires or falling from roof tops. So a great caution must be exercised so as not to lose human lives.
1. Salman, who is a dear friend of mine from Pakistan, enlightened me on types of Guday, Patang and Dor.
2. Photos by Rehan Fazal at flickr.com
ATP’s Post on Basant from 2007: