Basant festival is a hundred-year-old tradition and is close to the hearts of Punjab, particularly Lahore. Basant festival always becomes the talk of the town every time the spring season approaches. Despite the wide popularity of this festival, the government of Pakistan has imposed a ban on kite flying since 2005.
However, people and kite flying associations still celebrate this colorful and vibrant kite-flying season every year. Kite flying was hailed as an international festival during the Pervez Musharraf government when kite lovers were allowed to fly kites openly without fear of arrests and penalties.
At the onset of spring, strict police patrol and active observation are the norms to prevent kite enthusiasts from flying kites and kite competitions. Finally, however, the spring season is in full swing, and the kiters are full of euphoria.
BASANT FESTIVAL IN PAKISTAN
Basant festival 2022, also known as Jashn-e-Baharan, is celebrated to welcome and greet the most colorful season. Spring is a bright and mostly admired season when different colors bloom everywhere. The colorful surrounding and flamboyant natural setting blend with the warm and exciting event of Basant in Punjab.
Basant Panchami is an annual event where the children, adults, and persons of every age group get together on their rooftops and arrange competitions between the kite-flying people. The Basant festival history dates back to the reign of Raja Ranjeet Singh, who loved this intriguing event and placed it every year, particularly in Lahore.
Since then, the kites have always won the hearts of many people in Punjab. Basant in Lahore is the main hub of the kite flying festivals. However, it is also celebrated in many other different cities across Punjab. Other than Lahore, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Sialkot, and Pasrur, people cannot imagine missing this special event.
Not only in Pakistan but this Basant season is also celebrated in India Punjab with the same enthusiasm and passion every year. They also arrange different competitions and festivities to enjoy the kite flying with full excitement.
Besides, many Pakistanis and Indians who belong to Punjab also admire celebrating this season in other countries and introducing this cultural event to the world. Jashn-e-Baharan has earned world fame due to the hype and cherished enthusiasm every year.
Basant is not limited to only kite flying in Pakistan. People also arrange special dinners and barbecues to relish this fiesta. Besides, people appear in yellow attires and stitch clothes of yellow. Yellow is a spring color, and it is particularly associated with the Basant.
You listen to the shouting voices of Bo Kata everywhere when a kite of the opponent is cut down. The drumbeating and loud music entice the rivals and level up their intensity to cut the kites of their competitors.
Similarly, kite flying is accompanied by events in metropolitan cities like concerts and parties to greet the colorful event. Moreover, special cash prizes and awards are also announced in different cities to make the event more delightful and exhilarating.
WHY IS BASANT BANNED IN PAKISTAN?
The cut-throat competition among the kite flying groups and associations turned this event into a bloodstained event. Due to the harsh rivalry among the kite-loving people, they resort to metal strings and other glass threads to make the rival’s kites fall quickly and winning the competition ultimately.
Since 2007, the government banned kite flying in Pakistan as many deaths and injuries are caused by throat cuts, electrocutions, and rooftop fallings. These unsafe methods and irresponsible behavior led the government to ban this event.
Instead of providing support for the kite admirers, the government resorted to the extreme policy of banning this much-loved festival. Instead, the government must support this ancient cultural event by arranging the event in the open spaces, grounds, and suburbs. People could cherish this electrifying entertaining event without any danger or anxiety.
Recently, Basant and other activities have been postponed due to a sudden surge in Covid cases again. The vaccination certificate is compulsory for everyone to travel and to be a part of other festivities.
Last but not least, Basant Mela must be accompanied by some precautions to enjoy the colorful carnival of kites to the max. The government alone cannot ensure safe and secure enjoyment in the second month of February.
It is the responsibility of the kite flying associations and kite manufacturers to sell the kites without metal and iron wires. Besides, chemicals and other harmful materials must be avoided to ensure safe kite contests in Pakistan.
Although the walled city of Lahore is the largest kite manufacturer in Pakistan, it also exports kites to other countries like Afghanistan. Therefore, the manufacturers must sacrifice their profits to make kite flying more profitable and sustainable to enjoy the long-term and enduring kite business where the loss of life is minimum.
On the other hand, the bike riders must keep their speed at 15mph to avoid throat cuts. Besides, the government and police should provide patrol services to preclude firing and injuries and ensure the people’s enthusiasm to control by crowd-controlling services.
Moreover, the government must specify or restrict certain areas for the Basant only. It will prevent human life loss and promote kite flying as a commercial business.
BASANT SCHEDULE 2022
The Basant festival is held in spring on the second week of February every year. Due to the ban on the Basant festival, the Basant festival dates may vary in different cities of Pakistan. Following is the list of the kite-flying dates in Pakistan.
|BASANT FESTIVAL 2022 DATES|
|RAWALPINDI||10th – 12th February 2022|
|GUJRANWALA (Mini Basant Mela)||10th February 2022|
|FAISALABAD||24th – 25th February 2022|
|LAHORE||26th – 27th February 2022|
|SIALKOT||5th – 6th March|
Many people still wonder why kite flying is banned in Pakistan despite its celebrations in Lahore and other major cities. The Basant festival is held in which month in Pakistan? However, it begins in February and continues till the start of March.
Lastly, one must say that Jashn-e-Baharan is a tradition, and nations must keep their thousand years old habits alive by adapting them to the modern lifestyle and requirements. Instead of utter regard for the old values and traditions, the government must take concrete measures. It will help connect with the history of a nation.
The Basant Mela undoubtedly provides an opportunity for people in business and kiters to thrive and plunge into pleasure. The government, kite associations, and kite-flying people must join hands to revive this tradition in Pakistan. A country’s festivals, like Basant festival, speak volumes of its rich culture, practice, and values, and we must strive to keep them alive forever.