Kite flying enthusiasts bat for use of cotton manjhas, this I-Day
The recent death of a 35-year-old from a kite string has brought back spotlight on the downside of using glass powder-coated strings.
Kite flying is an integral part of Independence Day celebrations. Kids flying kites on the terrace, running after the katti patang to catch it, is a cherished childhood memory. But, the dangers of glass powder-coated, nylon manjhas aren’t unknown. In one such incident recently, a 35-year-old biker’s throat got slit on Shastri Park Flyover by a stray nylon kite string. Though bans are in place on the use of such strings, some are still not adhering to it.
“Chinese manjha (common name given to the nylon strings) ki manufacturing jab tak rukegi nahin, tab tak yeh accidents hote rahenge,” says Kafil Ahmed from Venus Kite Club, adding, “It is mostly amateurs who fly kites around August 15. Their perception is that the stronger the string, the higher are their chances of cutting their opponents’ kite, and this is not true. Also, the nylon manjhas are cheaper. Cotton manjha ₹1,200 ka hai, Chinese manjha ₹300 mein mil jata hai. That’s why people go for this option.”
A similar stance is that of Vipin Kumar, admin of the Facebook group Delhi Kite Flying Association: “Logon ko black mein mil jata hai [glass powder-coated nylon manjha], Delhi mein iski wajah se accident cases July-August mein zyada hote hain. Cotton thread is expensive because it takes two-three people to make one string. But, it’s perfect for kite flying.”
Those passionate about kite flying believe the tradition must be passed down generations, albeit with safety in mind. “Injuries happen not because of the sport, but because the wrong kind of manjha is used,” reasons Sunny Singh, a product manager from Gurugram, adding, “Kite flying is one of our oldest traditions. Not only is it a way for us to celebrate, it also helps keep eyesight sharp, gives shoulder and arm strength, improves hand-eye coordination, etc.”
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