The kites to be used
* Patriotic fervour keeps Chinese kites, thread away!
* The Chinese thread is particularly harmful to flying birds
By Dr Ahmed Mohiuddin Siddiqui
The Heritage Buffs of south Indian city of Hyderabad met over a sumptuous breakfast hosted by eminent historian Dr. Mohammed Safiullah on a pleasant wintery morning.
The functional group decided to hold Hyderabad Heritage Kite Festival in the middle of January under the guidance of Ruby Television Editor Syed Inam ur Rahman Ghayur — an expert in the art of kite flying whose knowledge about the subject keeps Hyderabadis interest sustained in the art.
This kite festival coincides with the Sankranti festival celebrated in different parts of India under different names. Dr. Safiullah disclosed that the Chinese kites and the thread — popularly called Manjah in Hyderabadi parlance — will not be allowed to take part in the kite festival.
The patriotic fervor keeps the Chinese products away in the light of the recent Chinese aggression against the Indian soldiers. The Chinese thread is particularly harmful to flying birds which are injured and fall dead due to the sharpness of the thread.
The heritage buffs patriotic resolve has won the hearts of fellow Pride of Hyderabad from Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Hyderabad Chapter Convenor Anuradha Reddy makes her own Manjah (thread).
Anuradha speaks 10 langauges and she is fluent in the kite flying language too. Banker and historian par excellence Amarbir Singh appreciated the ‘Make in Hyderabad’ element in Anuradha’s making Manjah herself.
Indian Police Service Officer S. A Huda wields a stick and also flies a kite with perfect ease. The distinguished top cop makes the kites behave and follow law and order in the sky!
Sitting across seven seas in London, A. S Askander is relishing the idea of our own Hyderabad Heritage Festival.
Heritage enthusiast Syed Nasir ul Haq describes the mouth-watering dishes presented by the hospitable host Dr. Safiullah, who also has a lavish spread of educational degrees.
The versatile genius and erudite scholar Dr. Safiullah has 3 PhDs in his pocket until now! Hyderabadi hospitality is world famous. The fabulous feast or the Deccani Nashtaincluded the traditional Khichdi, Khatta, Qeema, Khageena, Parathe, Damm ka Gosht, Muzaffar, Gaajar ka Meetha, Jileby filled Custard and a dash of water melon.
It also included papad, murkul, Aam ka Achar, Limu ka Achar and Dahi ki Mirchi to spice it up! Being two thousand miles away, I missed the kite festival planning and the absolute gastronomical delights.
It is significant to note that kite flying is common to many Asian countries, particularly, to India and China. It is a cottage industry as thousands of families make their livelihood during the winter from October to January every year.
The kites and the thread are manufactured throughout the year to meet the demand during the windy winter. The winds help the kites go up easily.
Some places conduct kite flying competitions with attractive prizes. Many children chase falling kites. The thrill also kills them sometimes when they drop down from a roof or get caught in an accident. The craze is really quite unabated!
Many bollywood films have shown kite flying by popular actors like Salman Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Amir Khan and others. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi enjoys flying kites.
There are many songs about kites. Kite flying brings out romance and the hearts of the actors flutter together like the kites! Kati Patang is a hit film of 1970s Bollywood superstar Rajesh Khanna.
Kite or patang has been used metaphorically by poets and lyricists to denote the uncertainties of real life.
The best thing about kite flying in India is that all differences of caste, creed, colour and race dissipate as people belonging to all faiths — Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and others join the kite festivals across India.
India’s love, harmony and pluralism are reflected as this binds all Indians in one unending and unbending thread of patriotism. Incredible India!