This Independence Day, Delhiwallahs say #NotInMyName
This Independence Day, a group of volunteers from Old Delhi and members of an NGO, Purani Dilli Walo ki Baatein, have joined hands with independent filmmaker Saba Dewan to spread the message of communal harmony and peace. And since Independence Day celebration also includes kite flying, what better way than to fly kites with messages of love printed on them?
“Independence Day, in many parts of India, and especially Old Delhi, is associated with kite flying. We just took it off from there. The idea being that we have messages against hatred, freedom from fear and violence printed on these kites,” says Dewan.
The work on the kites began around a month back and around 3,000 kites were printed. The cost for these kites was covered via contributions from volunteers from Old Delhi. “Money was collected, mostly from people in Old Delhi. Whatever they could contribute — ₹5, ₹10, or more,” adds Dewan. These are being distributed free, on the eve of August 14, at Lal Kuan Bazaar, the wholesale kite market in Old Delhi.
Mohammad Taqi, a shop-owner and resident in Old Delhi, had undertaken the task of getting these kites printed. “Aapas mein jo yeh nafrat boyi jaa rahi hai, usko khatam karne ke liye yeh patangein banayi hain. Aaj ek Hindustani doosre Hindustani ko maar raha hai. Mob lynching toh hai, lekin yeh bheed sab janne vali hai. Bheed hi hum hain aur hum hi bheed hain. Inn patango mein kisi caste yaa community ka sawaal nahi hai. Hum patango ke zariye yeh message pahunchana chahte hain ki nafrat se azaadi mile. (We want to counter the hatred with the messages of peace and harmony. Today, one Indian is at the throat of another Indian. There is this mob, but we are the mob and the mob is us. These kites are for everyone, irrespective of caste or community. Through these kites, we want freedom from this hatred.).”
Usamah Tariq, a 19 year old student from Daryaganj, feels that there is no casteism or religionism, at least not where he lives. “With these kites, we are trying to foster the message of unity. A lot of my Hindu friends come over to my house to fly kites, and I also go to their houses. We place friendly bets on who cuts the most kites,” he says.
Tamjeed-ud-din, a 24 year old law student from Matia Mahal, also has a printing press, where some of these kites were printed. “Patang toh udh ke kahin bhi jaati hai, aur apne saath yeh message le ke jayegi. Wherever these kites go, our message will go with these,” he says, adding, “We will also fly a four-feet kite at night and tie electric candles to the thread or manja. The lights of peace will eliminate the darkness that is prevalent in our society.”
Interact with the author at @TheBalinian