Monday, March 17, 2008


By: Muhammad Mahtab Bashir

Pakistan is surely an entertainment starved country. There are hardly art and cultural related activities taking place. Frustration, anxiety and fretfulness are pet words of today. And almost everything related to fun is seen skeptically by our conservative community. However, it never stopped people to have fun and to engineer different modes of enjoyment. Illegal street racing on a two-wheeler among few privileged is getting popular. Knowing the fact that this kind of unsupervised activity has its price but can we blame the common mass?

Basant is perhaps the only national festival that has nothing to do with religion. In Islam, constructive activities and creative sports (those which develop one's abilities of intellect, power, stealth, combat, etc) are encouraged immensely. Islam never prohibits anyone to take part in games and enjoy the fruits of life but within limits and limits are set for both gender rather woman alone.

In my humble views, if people of Pakistan love to celebrate basant, let them do it and cash this festivity to attract tourists. Top hotels reported full booking during these days, a lot of people have their means of earning through this gala as it exerts a pull on millions of people not across the border but across the world. It is an event not to be missed. Lahore is undoubtedly the hub of basant celebrations but on basant day the entire country from Karachi to Peshawar rejoices with one voice.

Conversely, such a blissful fiesta has its dark side as hospitals invariably are packed with kite-flyers whop fell off roofs and children who are hit by vehicles as they run down the streets and roads with faces turn towards sky to watch the kites. Quarters of the city are plunged into darkness when razor-sharp kite cord rolled in powdered glass and metal cord cut throats and electricity wires respectively. The chemical and metal cord is banned but manufacturers are still report roaring trade.

On the other side of the picture, such festival does not suit a country where poor masses are deprived and openly realized their deprivation by mass fashion exhibits of material possessions. Kites and cords are not cheaper for a meager class. In a nutshell, safe kite flying, Yes. The pretentious way of exhibits, No.

There are rules and regulations for every sport. If one starts playing football on a busy road, people will start dieing. It doesn't mean playing football is bad as it kills a many but the venue and methodology needs to be regulated. I would hate to buy the idea that basant is a Hindu festival and I can argue about this. Practically, Pakistan is not an Islamic state as we commit a lot of things un-Islamic. We carry many traditional Hindu belongings; look at our marriage ceremonies for instance. Some people in Pakistan are determined that no one has the right to have fun whatsoever and thus they use the name of religion to advocate their point uselessly. I find this super-ridiculous.

To avoid casualties, my suggestion is to find a way to coax kite-flyers into cosmic playgrounds and vast stadiums. Organized kite-flying competitions with attractive cash prizes and lucrative gifts may lure professional kite-flyers out of their dens towards open grounds, where life is safer. Last but certainly not least, a lot many opines that festival of basant is a source of earnings to those who waited for whole year to come by. We must share our maximum finances to the manufacturers of kites, cords and related stuff makers but minimum to hospitals, doctors/ surgeons, blood banks and grave-diggers.

Published in daily The Post, 17 March, 2k8, THE NATION, 16th Mar 2008, Pakistan Observer, 28 Jan, 2007


1 comment:

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