Freedom Festival – Patang Bazi : A Sport Becoming Extinct
“I Bo Kata” cried a group of enthusiastic and energetic kite fliers and broke into a victory dance. A few meters away from them, a group of budding footballers stop their game to locate the kite which just lost a duel to another kite and sailed away to an unknown destination. Everybody had their sights fixed on the skies above as if waiting for some celestial exhibition to show up. Amidst the pink and magenta of the setting sun, these kite fliers were the artists, sky their palette and kites the colours…..
This may sound ethereal but I am a lucky witness to this everyday. Not very far away from North Campus is a small student area called Gandhi Vihar, surrounded by acres of green pastures, right beside the Karnal National highway. Every evening the empty pastures turn into playgrounds for sports lovers. Football being the most popular but the show stealer is our traditional sport of Patang Bazi or Kite flying.
Patang Bazi as it is popularly known in India was a sport loved by the Kings and Nawabs. It symbolised unity in a colourful celebration of skill and craftsmanship. This legacy may have been forgotten but is not lost. Patang Bazi is still a major attraction in many parts of the country. Most of North India celebrates it on Makar Sakranti while Gujarat holds an annual Kite Flying festival on this day called Uttarayan. In our very own Delhi it is the Independence Day when the skies are painted tri coloured by kites fluttering in the air to their own freedom song.
Like every other sport Patang Bazi has its own rules and technicalities.
Kite: Better known as Patang or Guda, is made out of paper and bamboo, varies in shapes and sizes. Often named on the colour, design or make. On 15th August the most common is Tiranga (Tri- coloured Kite). Some others are, Chaandal (One which has a moon made on it), Poonchal (kite with a tail) etc. One of the most exciting kite is Tukkal. It is heavy compared to the ordinary paper kites and is often used for night time flying because of the extensive use of glittering golden colour. Tukkal is the most difficult Kite to fly, it is said that one who can fly a Tukkal can fly anything!
Saddi: is a white thread used to anchor the kite with knots called as Kanni.
Manjha: is the real weapon of Patang Bazi. It is prepared by coating Saddi with a mixture of finely crushed glass, glue, foam of the sea and colours. The glass gives it a sharp cutting edge. It can be quite nasty for the hands. Once the manjha is ready it is wired onto a wooden loom called the Charkhi or Latai.
The main aim of Patang Bazi is to get into a duel called Peche, (by entangling your kite into others) and cutting it out of the arena. The Kite which flies undefeated till the end is the winner.
Every time a Kite flier wins a duel he shouts “I Bo Kata” a phrase of triumph and innocent joy. Kites are simple and colourful which makes this sport very beautiful. The best of happiness is derived from the simplest of things and Patang Bazi is one of them. But it has been reduced as a mere ritual in Kite festivals in big cities like Delhi. When most of the young generation is whiling away their time in opulent malls of concrete, or playing games on their play stations and X Box ‘s, a few old but skilful hands are busy painting the skies of the walled city from Balli Maran to Laal Kuan. This may not have the comfort of a recliner or a bean bag but it has the ultimate bliss of nature. The competition may have died for the professional Patang Baaz but the spirits are still soaring, just like their kites. In the green pastures of Gandhi Vihar “I Bo Kata” resonates and lingers on with a hope of revival …..
This Independence Day, CA Diaries brings to you the “Freedom Festival”, to re-live that nostalgia and to re-create the magic. We will fly kites, help some dying Indian Games from going extinct and celebrate India. There will be music, there will be colors and some authentic Indian Street Food! Let’s pass a few amendments and make sure we are free in true sense!
Date : August 15, 2015
Venue : Arya Public School, Raja Bazzar, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Connaught Place, New Delhi
Timings : 2PM Onwards
Registration : Entry is open for CAs and CA Students on first come first basis. RSVP at the Facebook Event shall act as your entry registration.