Let Our Skies Shimmer Again, Let Basant be Celebrated Again
Spring in Lahore has always been colourful. It is the onset of vibrant colours, and one may think that these colours that we refer to mean flowers we see blooming around us. The answer, my friends, is both yes and no.
Sure, Spring restores life to plants that had withered dry in the winter, but, until a few years ago, that wasn’t the only fantastic feature of Spring. Our grounds glittered with hues of yellow, red and pink, but our skies, too used to be bursting with colour. The blue in the sky would be reduced to specks as kites of every shape and size would cast a cover over the city. Spring, once brought with it the beautiful festival of Basant, and we have to admit: we miss it very much.
Some may argue that banning this cherished festival was the right step taken, for many lost their lives in the name of fun. But the questions remain: Why throttle an entire tradition? Why raze an entire market of people earned their livelihood through this? Why shatter that one event which was precious to all people, irrespective of their caste, class or religion? Why not amend the fateful glass thread instead?
There are many events, which involve many risks. Take the PSL matches, for instant. The security risks surrounding these matches are very real. The government, does however, take steps to ensure the safety of its citizens. The traffic jams in the city maybe wrecking havoc but the government goes through with the matches anyway. The argument here is that risks exist everywhere, and that too, different kinds of risks, but if the government is adamant to go through with something, it does execute it. Then why is it so difficult to change the type of thread used in flying kites? Why must we resort to such a harsh ban instead?
What is rooted within this ban is perhaps a bigger reason, one very few people want to acknowledge openly; it is that Basant is historically speaking a dominantly Hindu festival that was appropriated by other communities. It is also possible that the government does not want to continue a mass level celebration of something that has strictly speaking not arisen from within Islam. The thread may just be a scapegoat.
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After all, some political parties did fervently support the ban on Basant and did not hesitate from terming it “Un-Islamic”. To everyone who may agree with this, we ask you to think again. To think about the questions we raised earlier. To think carefully, how is flying a kite in any way dishonouring your faith in Islam? When was God ever so narrow sighted?
Whatever the reasons may be behind this ban, the truth is, we all miss Basant very much. And perhaps, we should take steps to bring it back. We hope you remember the adrenaline rush when someone went “Bo Kaata!” We surely do.