Wednesday, 27 October, 2021

Kite Flying In Dashain


Ram Dayal Rakesh

The joys of kite flying during the Dashain festival are immense. it is not a religious festival but very enjoyable in this sweet season. The autumn season is also very soothing. There is neither hot nor cold weather in this season.

It is an indoor as well as an outdoor game but most people enjoy flying kites outdoor because they prefer vast open fields where they can fly kites freely. Some people prefer to fly kites from the rooftops.
But one danger is apparent while flying kites from rooftops because most of the men and children may fall while flying kites. They become careless and also carefree and lose the balance of their body.
There is also no rain in this season. The kite-flying festival also indicates the end of the rainy season. The farmers are free in this season because they have no burden of cultivation.

They feel comfortable and want to spend their time flying kites in the clear blue sky. They also pray to Indra, the god of rain for stopping rain because there is no need for rain now. There is a very popular folk rhyme that I would like to quote here:
"Rain, Rain go away,
Come again another day
Rain, Rain go to Spain
Do not show your face again.”
They also enjoy seven –coloured rainbow in the background. One of the most prominent romantic poets William Wordsworth once wrote: 'My heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky. It is a source of immense joy while flying kite in the blue sky enjoying the beauty of the rainbow.

They also believe that flying kite brings forth happiness, sound health, peace of mind. It is also believed the harbinger of peace and prosperity in the family.
Festivals in Mithilanchal do not just have a religious, social and sentimental connection. Some like the tradition of flying kites on the auspicious occasion of the biggest festival of Dashain every year. This festival is famous for health benefits also.

People flying kites this day receive the benefits of the sunrays as it enters soothing and sweet season, thus acting as a medicine for the human body that gets infected and dry during the summer season.
As the person flies a kite under the sun, the body gets exposed to UV Rays which eradicates infections and insanitation. On the religious front, Dasain is celebrated as a pleasant and pleasurable festival in Nepal and India.
The hub of this festival is the state of Gujarat where it is celebrated as UTTARAYAN. Gujarat tourism organises an annual international kite festival that draws global participants.

The serene blue sky gets dotted with thousands of colourful kites innumerable shapes, sizes and designs during this period. At night, tukkals ( illuminated box kites) are launched into the sky, often strung on one line, making for a mesmerising view. Kite-flying is an important part of the religious rituals also as an obeisance to the Sun God, thanking him for benefaction on the crops. A weekend before the festival, a special 24x7 kite market kick-starts in Ahmedabad.

From dawn to dusk, the kites are a sight to behold as people shift their base to rooftops, kites and reels in hand. Shouts of Kai Po Che are common during ' kite wars' as soon as one manages to cut another kite string, thus signifying victory. There is also a tug of war among the kite fliers in the blue and clear sky of Nepal.

They enjoy their victory if they win. They shout 'changa chait' in Nepali very loudly. In Mithilanchal, people especially children enjoy a lot if they win in this competition and cry very loudly expressing their victory. The businessmen of Nepal import ready-made kites from the neighbouring country India every year. They also get lattais from there to cut strings of other flying kites in the sky. Now local people also make different sizes- kites according to the choice of the buyers and kite flowers.

Making of Kites

Kites are made of lightweight paper and bamboo. Cotton string MANJHA is located with abrasives(a special mix of glass powder and rice paste) to make it strong and sharp to cut other kite strings. Manjha is the most suitable string to be used in it. The size of kites ranges from nine inches to 3 feet. Nowadays multi-coloured kites are also found and they create a very enchanting scene in the sky while flying. Every year the global annual festival of kite flying is held in Paris, the capital city of France.

Once Mithila paintings decorated and drawn kites also represented Maithili culture in the global competition of kite flying held in Paris. Credit goes to Ramesh Shreshtha a Nepali poet based in Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand. He represented Nepal in that global competition. Mr Shrestha asked me to manage these types of kites from Janakpur, the city of Mithila arts and crafts.

I requested Mr Ajit Sah a noted artist and also the owner of Mithila Arts and crafts, Janakpur to draw Mithila paintings on three dozen kites and send them to me. I delivered them to Mr Shreshtha in Kathmandu who is my neighbour also. First of all Mithila painting got a golden opportunity to fly in the sky of Paris.

Precaution: One of my villagers who was very fond of kite flying and used to fly kite in the mid–day sun of the autumn season became one-eyed because of engaging one of his eyes constantly on the kite flying.

(The author is culture expert)