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Friday, September 23, 2016

The Kite Festival Of Bengal

Not only in connection with the fiction and writings, kites are actually popular for the kite lovers. History says, Hiuen tsang initiated kite flying in India. Kite has different names in various countries - it is called Tako in Japan, Cerf volant in France, Papalote in Mexico, Vileers in South Africa, Plakwaaier in Belgium, Fung jung in China, Dutch says Vileger, Drachen in Germany, Layang-layang in Indonesia, Aquiline in Italy, Youn in Korea, Drage in Norway & Denmark, Pipas in Portugal, Saranggola in Philippines, Letuchij zmeij in Russia, Cometas in Spain, Drake in Sweden, Wan in Thailand etc. But, what's in a name! Kites are popular all over the world. On the day of Akshay Tritia of month Baishakh in Bengal and on 17th September on the day of Viswakarma puja and 'Arandhan' in Bengal household, the custom to fly kites is in vogue particularly in Kolkata. And in villages and other towns of Bengal, kite flying is like a festival on the day of 'Poush Sankranti' - the last day of Bengali month Poush. The mood of then 'Babu culture' of Bengal was blended with this festival of kites. Nabab Wajed Ali Shah came to Kolkata (then Calcutta) along with famous 'Ustads' of Lucknow who used to fly kites very well. Kite flying became popular by their activities in Kolkata.  পেটকাটি চাঁদিয়াল, ঘয়লা, ময়ুরপংখী, মুখপোড়া, বল মার্কা, চৌরঙ্গী, শতরঞ্জি - so many types of kites -  এক তে, দেড় তে, দু তে (small, medium and big) and লাটাই, লাট্টু, সুতোর লাট, ঘুড়ির প্যাঁচ, মাঞ্জা, বাদাম প্যাঁচ, ভোকাট্টা - intrusion of so many words on the sky of kites. So many colours of kites were there - red, black, blue, white, green, yellow etc and all were made of papers and thin wooden sticks. Nowadays, plastic papers occupied the place of tearable papers - which is a 'bad' evolution in my opinion. There was competition between two boys and sometimes more than that - who'll catch the stray kites. And sometimes the snatched kites even torn. Moreover, the stray kites were used to seen on the branches of mango trees or on the wire of overhead electric lines. And gradually it becomes torn. It was very common scene in Bengal. The মাঞ্জা are several kinds - dust of glasses, সাবু, sand and colour - all blended to make মাঞ্জা which is the life of flying kites. That 'হাত-মাঞ্জা' or মাঞ্জা made by hands were famous, popular and innocent too. But, the 'China Manja' of these days is very dangerous for the flying birds and human too. It is banned in Delhi after some untoward incidents. 

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