Flying high

Kite flying is a tradition and a part of Lahore’s heritage that needs to be saved.

Editorial December 07, 2012

It is quite extraordinary just how complicated the once simple matter of flying a kite in Punjab has now become. All that was needed before was a flimsy square of paper, a roll of string and plenty of enthusiasm. Now, we have courts, top government officials and a host of other organisations involved in this activity. Notions of religious belief, the propaganda against Basant on the inaccurate and irrelevant basis that it is a Hindu festival have further distorted the tradition.

The Lahore High Court has sought a reply from the provincial chief secretary upon hearing a petition filed by a member of the Kite Flying Association, who is seeking a 15-day relaxation on the blanket ban. The petitioner had argued a complete ban on flying was not ordered by the Supreme Court and nor was it a part of the Punjab government’s 2001 Prohibition of Kite Flying Ordinance. In reply, the local government told the court that a total ban was imposed in 2007 due to several deaths occurring from kite-flying accidents and electricity infrastructure being damaged. It was argued that the ban could not be lifted to accommodate a ‘handful’.

But kite flying is not a sport of the few. It has been a passion observed over many centuries in Lahore and surrounding areas. As the petitioner has noted, the ban has deprived millions of livelihood. Kite flying is a tradition and a part of Lahore’s heritage that needs to be saved. It is true, some grisly incidents took place as throats were slit by sharp-twine and these were tragic; but horrendous road accidents occur daily, yet, we do not ban vehicles. The problem, as far as deaths and damage to power lines are concerned, stems from the illegal use of metallic or chemical-coated twine which has already been banned. The law simply needs to be implemented, with other suggestions such as the setting up of specific ‘kite zones’ also considered, so that the bright squares of paper, flown often with extraordinary skill, can once more brighten Lahore’s winter skies.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2012.


abu-uzhur | 9 years ago | Reply


You have stated the case against ban on kite-flying very cogently. Even if one tries , one can't find adequate justification for depriving people of a wonderful sport , and of the Basant festival which had developed into a colourful celebration of life . Basant was the day which people looked forward to the whole year--- the day when buddies and their families got together in a mood to defy all gloom and despodence and enjoy care-free flying in the far away skies . Why is it then banned without any reason which human reason can grasp ? When human behaviour , individual or collective , defies common sense , we have to look for its causes in the unconscious regions of mind . Briefly stated , we have a very strong streak of masochism in our culture . All expressions of joy make us uncomfortable , stir some inscrutable guilt feeling . It is this guilt which makes us launch assaults on new-year celebrations , denounce female tv anchors or announcers if they appear attractive , issue moral edicts against valentine day, encourage police to pounce on young couples in parks betraying any signs of love , and moral vigilantes on educational campuses see signs of the doomsday if they find a boy and a girl enjoying coffee sitting on the same table .

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