IN THE FERTILE land of China, in the 5th century BC, a Chinese philosopher named Mozi is said to have invented the kite. It was an incredible invention at that time. People from Mongolia, India, Korea and Japan welcomed this invention too after some time. The time passed and a mere combination of strings and cloth turned out to be a very useful thing. Kite was deployed for a number of purposes, such as giving signals during the war, testing the force and direction of the wind, and of course as a recreation. In the 13th century, when, Marco Polo served in the court of Kublai Khan, he for the first time saw this thing and he was really impressed with it. When he embarked back on the journey to Europe with many other things and gifts, he took it along too. Finally, with him, it reached Europe. The 18th century began and kites became more germane than ever.
Early kites which Chinese and Mongolians used were made from fine silk and bamboo sticks. Later when it became popular in masses and was being used commercially, instead of expensive and rare silk, paper and sticks were used in the making.
Basant is a popular festival of the subcontinent, having deep roots in the history and legends; kite flying was however added afterwards. Basant in Hindu tradition, as the legend goes, is a festival known as Makara Sankarnt. It is celebrated every year on 14th or 15th of January, to see off the winters and welcome the warm sun. Sikhs have also historically celebrated Basant Panchami to mark the beginning of spring.
Maharaja Ranjeet Singh used to hold a festival every year, known as annual Basant Fair, in which kite flying was added later. In his durbar situated in Lahore, he and his wife, queen Moran would dress in yellow and celebration would last for ten to twelve days. A typical scene would include army showing their prowess by marching in front of the audience followed by acrobatic stunts, women singing merrily and in colourful attire swaying from the swings.
That was a brief history of kite flying and Basant through ages, now coming to the present day, The District Administration Bathinda is organizing a Kite Flying festival in order to celebrate the Basant season (Spring) in a grand manner and to connect the youth with their cultural roots. Titled ‘Bathinda Kite Festival and Fete-2019’, this one of its kind extravaganza would see passionate kite flyers exhibiting their skills through giant sized kites of various shapes besides enjoying the grooving beats of music.
Deputy Commissioner Praneet Bhardwaj informed that the fest would be held at the local multipurpose sports stadium on February 2 and 3. He further said that the District Administration would hold this fest with the active assistance of District Olympic Association and Malwa Heritage Society and the joyous occasion would see contests such as Kite Flying, Kite Making, Rangoli Making, Stone Painting, Collage Making, Visible Painting, Dig the Treasure Hunt, Wooden Ring, Best out of waste and Tambola being held in which nearly 1000 students from different schools of the district would participate. Also during the fest there would be other attractions such as Baby Show in which tiny tots would showcase their prowess.
The added attraction would be the cultural programmes in which apart from Bhangra and Giddha, the artists from other states would present their folk art and dance forms. There would be a live musical band also to enthrall the audience.
Apart from this, the Master Chef Bathinda competition would also be held at IHM institute in which the participants would exhibit their culinary skills.
The Deputy Commissioner also added that the first 3 winners of the Kite Flying contest would get Rs. 5100, Rs. 2100 and Rs. 1100 as prizes respectively whereas those bagging first 3 positions in the other competitions would also be awarded with certificates and momentoes. There would be effective arrangements of refreshments as well as clean drinking water on both days for the participating students.
The added attraction would be the cultural programmes in which apart from Bhangra and Giddha, the artists from other states would present their folk art and dance forms. There would be a live musical band also to enthrall the audience. The Deputy Commissioner also divulged that during this fest, a food court comprising food of different types would also be set up to satiate the appetite of the food lovers.
The Deputy Commissioner also assured that strict and foolproof arrangements have been put in place and steps have also been taken also to ensure that there would not be any usage of the Chinese string during the contest.
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