For them, kites unleash patriotism
Amin and Jawed fly their F-16s, retaliating scores of attacks from enemy's side. But Amin and Jawed aren't heroic pilots of the Indian Air Force and the F-16's aren't real fighter jets.delhi Updated: Aug 10, 2011 23:45 IST
Amin and Jawed fly their F-16s, retaliating scores of attacks from enemy's side. But Amin and Jawed aren't heroic pilots of the Indian Air Force and the F-16's aren't real fighter jets. They are the champions of the walled city, who fly their tricolour kites with as much passion as that of a fighter pilot.
Amin, 26, and Jawed, 24, represent the kite-flying enthusiasts of Old Delhi, where the sky is dotted with kites of all shapes and sizes as part of Independence Day celebrations during the entire month of August. Lal Kuan is yet another place where Kites can be found in every street and people can be seen huddling up at any kite shop.
Kite makers from Rampur, Bareilly and Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh flock to Delhi in August to rake profit during the festivities.
"We come here for 10-15 days and make good money. The demand is high in Delhi. Although China has intruded this market, people still prefer Indian kites," said Tajdar, owner of a kite shop in Lal Kuan.
Several clubs also organise kite flying competitions for young enthusiasts. "This is like our IPL. We eagerly wait for August to come," says Jawed. "There are around 120 clubs in old Delhi and there is a stiff competition."
Jawed and Amin have inherited the passion from their father - Bhai Mian - who is popularly known as the 'Godfather' of kite flying skills.
Bhai Mian, who runs a kite flying institute, has pictures of himself flying kites with the likes of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former prime ministers such as Atal Behari Vajpayee, PV Narasimha Rao and IK Gujral.
Bhai Mian says kite flying is the only sport which has not changed over the years. "The young generation is very much interested in kite flying. People come to my institute to learn the skill. Patangbaazi is older than any other sport. It won't fade," said the 85-year-old.
However, Mian feels that kite flying does not get enough recognition in the country. “We get invitations from Europe. My elder son is going to Switzerland next week for a kite flying festival. But we haven't got our due in India.”