Chali chali re patang mere chali re

Ashok Sharma
Kite flying is a funfilled activity.It has been  practised as a traditional sport in India since olden times.Kites are believed to have been  invented in China where materials for kite making such as  silk fabric for high tensile strength and resilient bamboo for a strong and lightweight framework, were easily available.From China, kites moved to other countries such as Cambodia, Japan, Korea and finally to the Western World.In India, kites have been flown since times immemorial. They were initially flown in honour of gods to  to awake them after a long and deep summer sleep.But then this sport became a sport of the kings and the Nawabs who took keen interest in flyng kites.Kite flying, as  a tradtional sport of India is practised by all  people irrespective of religion, community, age etc.and kites are flown thtoughout the year but on eve of such festivals as Makarsankranti, Rakshabandhan and Janamashtami, there is more enthusiasm in kite flyers than on other days.It is so popular that an International Kite Festival is organised in Gujarat  in January every year on the eve of Makar Sankranti, in which people from across  India and the world take part.
Kites of various sizes and shapes are flown from dawn to dusk filling the sky with colourful kites and people try their best to cut the strings of the  kites of others to bring them down.Those who succeed in bringing down the kites of others are appreciated and praised for their precision and art.Kite festivals are also  organised in other countries such as China, Japan, UK etc.In USA, American Kite Flyers Association is the umbrella organisation for the organisation of kite festivals.In Japan,Giant Kite Festival is organised in the month of May every year.Kite flying also used to be a popular sport in Pakistan and Lahore used to be the hub of kite flying but it was banned by the Pakistan government in 2007 to ensure the safety of people
Kites have been used for purposes other than flying.They find use in military applications, science and metereology, photography, lifting radio antennae etc.Kites have been instrumental in research of the Wright brothers when developing the first airplane in the late 1800sKites find mention even in literature.Many famous stories based on kites have also  been written, which have enriched literature of various languages.Films and songs based on kite flying have also been popular.Who can forget the film’Kati Patang’ and the songs’Chali chali re patang meri chali re’ and the lines’ Meri zindagi hai kya,ik kati patang hai’! In our own state, kite flying is a popular sport, especially in the Jammu province.Come Janamashtami and Rakshabhandan and we have the enthusiastic kite flyers of all age groups filling the sky with colourful kites of various sizes and shapes.The kites are flown from early in the morning till dusk and people try their best to cut the strings ot the others’ kites to prove their mettle and skill.Thus, it is a funfilled activity and must be pursued as such.But over the past few days, there have been incidents in which many people including children have lost their lives due to the ‘Chinese manjha’which is used to fly kites.
It is coated with finely crushed glass ,metals and other sharp materials so that it can easily cut the other strings.Many birds have also been injured/killed due to this killer thread. According to the estimates of bird rescuers,about two thousand birds are killed every year due to this killer thread.The use and sale of this killer thread has been banned in many states including our own state, but despite ban, some unscruplous traders are reported to be indulging themselves in selling this thread in Jammu and thus,playing with the lives of people.Sometimes, there are other unpleasant incidents of children falling down from their houses while flying kites from rooftops and other high places.
So kites should be flown in open grounds and fields with care and parents should accompany their young children during kite flying.Parents also ought to advise their children to use traditional thread instead of Chinese thread for flying kites.It is an inexpensive and funfilled sport and must be pursued with enthusiasm but with care and safety.