Spirit of Kite Flying Waning - The New Indian Express

Spirit of Kite Flying Waning

Published: 17th January 2014 12:00 PM

Last Updated: 17th January 2014 12:00 PM

With increasing popularity of indoor sports and dwindling open space, the spirit of kite flying, considered a leisure sport, has started to fade fast.

Urban youths are rarely seen competing with each other in kite flying. Earlier, during Makar Sakranti, one could see numerous kites fluttering in the sky, giving the flyers the feeling of being free. One could feel the pulse of the youngsters and their passion when they chased a kite, whose string was cut during kite flying duels. But it is not so now.

“Things were different three decades back. It seems there is no interest among the youngsters to fly kites. The number of kites being flown has almost gone down and so the business involved in it,” rued a researcher Madhabananda Mohanty.

Balasore town was not as compact as it is now. It offered many options of open space, making it easier to indulge in this sport. “There was no age bar with the old people joining in the frolic. All used to prepare ‘manja’, the special thread prepared with mixture of glass powder and gum. It was used during kite flying competitions to cut the thread of the opponents,” said a resident Rabi Narayan Das.

In fact, kite-flying has its own history. Possibly originated in China as a sport, it later travelled to other counties. Kites from Japan, Korea, China and other south-eastern countries come in various shapes and sizes. Kite flying competitions are also organised in many countries as a part of tourism promotion.

Gujarat is the only State in the country that leads the way. Contestants from nearly 70 countries participate in the kite flying contest sponsored by Gujarat Tourism Department.

It is the sheer variety of kites and the dexterity of contestants which make the contest one of the major tourist attractions.

Though kite flying competitions are organised on the shore of Kathajodi and Mahanadi rivers in Cuttack, they have failed to attract contestants from other States and abroad reportedly due to lack of publicity.

“In other parts of the State, this culture is in doldrum due to lack of open space and fields as these have been acquired by the builders and land mafia. In urban areas, most of the open space that are essential for the sport are being used for construction purposes,” observed environmentalist PK Padhi.

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