Category Archives: In the news

Kite headlines from around the world

Fatal accidents during Basant in Pakistan

Indianenews.com is reporting on the fatalities during the Basant festival over the weekend. Out of all the articles I have read on this over the past few days this one hits the nail on the head. The Punjab government lifted the ban on Kite flying for the festival, this was in direct violation of the law that the supreme court handed down banning all kite flying. The punjab gov’t needs to take responsibility for their actions. As well all of the vendors of wire line and glass line should be charged and imprisoned. This is disgusting.

indiaenews.com wrote: Deaths at banned Pakistani kite festival causes stir

From correspondents in Islamabad, Pakistan, 03:01 PM IST

Pakistani politicians Monday condemned authorities for allowing the controversial Basant kite festival, that caused death to at least a dozen people, to be celebrated over the weekend, despite a court ban.

According to conflicting casualty numbers, seven children were among 12 people killed in accidents during the events Saturday and Sunday in Lahore in the central Punjab province. More than 700 people were injured, press reports said.

‘Extravagant rulers have allowed the blood bath of innocent citizens just for their own merry making,’ Qazi Hussain Ahmad, the head of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) religious parties alliance, said in a statement.

Two children, aged six and 11, died after reinforced kite wires slit their throats, while others were hit by stray bullets from aerial firing, fell from roofs or were run over by vehicles while trying to catch kites. One person was also electrocuted while pulling a kite from a power line.

The MMA chief blamed the tragedies on Punjab officials who allowed Basant festivities despite a renewed ban imposed by the Supreme Court.

Kite flying was entirely banned in Pakistan in 2005 because of accidents but the Punjab government independently sanctioned the event in defiance of the ruling in Islamabad.

Heralding the end of winter and the arrival of spring, the Basant festival is celebrated in the entire Indian subcontinent and particularly in Pakistan.

Coinciding with the government’s ‘Destination Pakistan 2007′ tourism drive, this year’s festival was to have been more strictly regulated.

Officials had pledged to restrict the size of kites and close shops that produce deadly strings coated with glass or shards of metal for ‘kite battles’.

Kasmin soars to greater heights in kite-making

Great story about Kasmin Miron, master kite maker from Malaysia.

By MOHD BAKRI DARUS

MALACCA: Decades ago, a skinny- looking teenager by the name of Kasmin Miron, was a regular figure in the village padi fields of Seberang Pekan in Baling, Kedah.

He was not there to harvest padi but to fly his kites as kiteflying was a favourite pastime of the village boys in the pre-independence days.

Now, 63-year-old Kasmin can take pride himself in being one the country’s leading kite-makers.

He is highly skilled in making these airborne, bamboostrung coloured papers with the characteristic “buzzing” sound as they soar and flit in the sky.

Kasmin’s deft touches have won him numerous accolades, both locally and internationally.
Continue reading

DCO – Announces free safety kite-string rods

Looks like more kite action for Pakistan. This time the government is taking proactive steps to protect motorcyclists from the dangers of the very sharp chemical and manja line used in kite fights.

I am not sure what one of these kite safety rods looks like.. I will try and dig up some pictures.

DCO announces free safety kite-string rods

LAHORE: District coordination officer (DCO), Muhammad Ijaz, Wedneday said that people would be provided safety kite-string rods free of charge for their bikes.

Speaking at a meeting of All-Pakistan Kite Dealers-Manufacturers Association, he said that all union council nazims would provide safety kite-string rods to people who had motorcycles registered under their names. Traffic police would take action against people not using helmets and rods, he added.

He said that manufacturers would produce kites of designated sizes only. A butterfly kite’s maximum span would be 32 inches and no kite would exceed a span of 40 inches, he added.

The DCO said that kites could only be manufactured using local materials. Materials from other cities would require the permission of the district environment officer, Tariq Zaman. Ijaz said that town municipal officers would be responsible for nine teams organised to dispose of chemical-coated strings. He said that chemical-coated strings would be outlawed in a week. Shops caught selling chemical-coated string would be sealed permanently and the string would be confiscated, he added. staff report

Bestselling Book Sparks US Kite Fighting Craze – VOA News

VOA (voice of America) News has an interesting video and article on the popularity in the U.S.A of traditional kite fighting since the book “The Kite Runner” was released. In the article VOA indicates that kite fighting was first introduced to the US about 10 years ago. I find this hard to believe, and I am sure that it was earlier than that. Stories like this always help the kiting community and it’s nice to see, I hope it continues.

Broadband Real Player format

By George Dwyer
New York City, NY
25 January 2007

Throughout much of Asia, kite fighting has been a popular activity for generations. Now a bestselling novel by an Afghan-American author has stirred new interest in the sport in the United States. And as VOA’s Jim Bertel reports, kite fighting is more than just a sporting diversion, it is an important cultural touchstone for many South Asian immigrants in the U.S.

The skies over a park in New York City have been filled with kites in recent months.

On the ground, Afghan, Indian, Pakistani, and other South Asian devotees of “kite fighting” battle for supremacy of the skies. Bangladeshi Qaiser Khan says, “It is very special. I got this from my father, from my childhood. This is the only thing I (have) been doing since a very young age.”

Sheryar Choudhry, Director of the World Control Board of Kite Flying says kite fighting is a highly competitive sport, but it is also considered an art form across South Asia — a touchstone of shared experience.

“It’s not only a sport. It’s also a culture,” says Choudrhry. “It’s a very big part of Pakistan, Indian culture. And you know it keeps you basically in touch that you left home and you are here now but you know all the guys and families come out to the park and they fly kites. It is basically a way of staying in touch with your heritage.”

Introduced in the U.S. just over a decade ago, kite fighting has been on the ascent ever since. But with the 2004 publication of the novel “The Kite Runner” by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini, the sport has really taken off says kite fighter Rizwan Basit.

“No matter what, even if it’s windy, rainy, sunny, they are here Saturdays and Sundays flying kites. Firstly, we started twelve years ago. I was like one of the three people that were here (and) started this sport. Now we have a bunch of people.”

It takes two men to operate the kite. Mastery of the sky goes to the team whose kite line cuts the cord of its challenger, sending the defeated kite into a free-fall.

“It’s like winning a match. When two kites have a match together one of them is going to (be) cut. Whoever cuts the kite, he wins the match,” explains Arshad Butt.

These “experienced hands” know how to prepare their kite strings with powdered glass and glue to snap their opponent’s line. And they understand that winning takes patience, strategy, and some luck.

More than two years after its publication, “The Kite Runner” is still a hot seller. Hundreds turned out at a recent Washington DC book festival to have him sign copies of his books. In New York the sport of kite fighting is flying higher than ever.

Source : VOA News

No kite flying on Basant, Pakistan Supreme Court rules

I am sure the sentiments of the thousands of people who were looking forward to flying kites during during Basant are a little more than upset today. The Supreme Court in Pakistan has ruled that even though the Punjab provincial government had lifted the ban the ban is till in place and there will not be any kite flying at this years festival.

By IANS, [RxPG] Islamabad, Jan 23 – The spring festival of Basant has once again come under a cloud with the Pakistan Supreme Court disallowing kite flying, an integral part of the celebration, on grounds of safety.

The Supreme Court Monday rejected a Punjab government plea seeking permission for kite flying in the province, taking a dim view of announcements and preparations made despite the ban.

What began as a matter of concern for the safety of those who fly kites from rooftops and other risky places and as a hazard caused by the use of wire instead of traditional string has escalated into a politico-legal issue.

A large number of deaths caused by falling off rooftops while flying kites are reported each year. The use of use of wire also disrupts power supply and is known to slit throats of people, particularly children.

The bench disliked the Punjab government’s move and asked it to tell the court how many people had reportedly been killed during last year’s Basant, The News said Tuesday.

A nine-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry directed the Punjab chief secretary to explain why an announcement for celebrating the Basant festival was made when there was a complete ban on kite flying.

The bench summoned a record of a press conference by Planning and Development Commission Chairman Salman Ghani announcing that the Basant festival would be celebrated in the Punjab Feb 25.

The chief justice also asked the reporter of a private TV channel to provide the footage of the press conference.

Punjab Advocate General Chaudhry Aftab Iqbal told the bench that the ‘Prohibition of Kite Flying Amendment Ordinance, 2007′ had been promulgated on Jan 20. It empowered district officials to allow kite flying for a period of 15 days during the spring season.

The apex court

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reacted by observing: ‘It is now provincial duty to keep law and order. The Supreme Court will not become a party in this case at this stage because when people die due to kite flying, people criticise the Supreme Court. Now this time we will keep ourselves aloof and the onus for – during Basant will be on the Punjab government.’

The Supreme Court had imposed a ban on manufacturing, flying, selling and buying of kites across the country last year. The Punjab government held a Basant festival in 2006 in the name of Jashn-e-Baharan after seeking relaxation from the Supreme Court.

Source: RxPG

Long flight for Birdwoman kite

Stuff.co.nz (The Dominion Post) has a quick article on Suzanne Tamaki’s kite “Manu Wahine” which means “Bird Woman”. The kite will be displayed in the British museum together with the oldest known traditional Maori kite, which is the male counter part to Tamaki’s kite. You can read the complete article here..Long flight for Birdwoman kite – Stuff.co.nz


Photo Source : PHIL REID/The Dominion Post

Valerie and I were in New Zealand in 2004, I was in to kites then but I didn’t have a clue about Maori kites. Since then I have received a bit of an education with the help of some kite flying friends from NZ and from a great book titled “Te Manu Tukutuku – The Maori Kite” by Bob Maysmor.

To give you an idea of what’s in the book here is the table of contents

  • Origins of the Maori Kite
  • Materials used for kite-making
  • Surviving examples of Maori Kites
  • Other types of Maori kite
  • Decorations and accessories
  • Flying lines and bridles
  • How kites were flown
  • Tutu Manu – chants and charms
  • Traditional histories
  • Contemporary Maori kites

There is also a great appendix with listings of Maori kites in museums and other collections, how to make a manu taratahi and Drawings of surviving kites inlcuding the bird man kite that is in the British Museum.

So if you get a chance pick up the book.. you can get it from the kite lines bookstore

Punjab province lifts kite flying ban


Photo source: Daily Times

After a few weeks of rumors it looks like Punjab province in Pakistan has temporarily lifted the ban on kite flying for the Basant festival. This is bitter sweet, as I am sure some disrespectful fliers will still use chemical, glass or metal kite line and someone will likely get hurt. On the other hand kite flying is at the heart of the Basant festival for so many in Lahore and I am glad that thousands of kites will fill the skys again.

hopefully the police will actually enforce the no meta/chemical/glass line law and those who do still insist on using it are caught and they get the full penalty. When the ban was initially imposed last year the police were all but turning a blind eye to people flying kites.

Yahoo news writes

By ASIF SHAHZAD, Associated Press Writer
Thu Jan 4, 4:36 PM ET

LAHORE, Pakistan – Pakistani provincial authorities on Thursday lifted a ban on kite-flying imposed a year ago after several bystanders were fatally slashed by glass-coated strings used in the competitions.

The move came a month ahead of Basant, an annual festival that heralds spring and is marked by boisterous parties and the flying of colorful kites in the eastern province of Punjab and its capital, Lahore.

Fliers strengthen their kite strings with wire or glass, sometimes with bloody consequences, to give them an advantage in duels where competitors try to cut each others’ strings.

Even before last year’s festival got into full swing, seven people were fatally slashed, prompting authorities — with limited success — to ban kite-flying. They arrested hundreds who defied the regulation.

Among the dead was a 4-year-old boy whose throat was slit by a string coated with glass as he rode on a motorcycle with his father.

Salman Ghani, chairman of Punjab’s planning and development department, said the ban will be lifted during this year’s festival, scheduled for Feb. 25.

Glass-coated or metal strings will be prohibited, Ghani said, and authorities will issue licenses for selling kites and strings. Kites larger than 2-feet-by-2-feet will not be allowed, to prevent the use of heavy strings.

Offenders will face up to four years in jail or a fine of $1,800, Ghani said, adding that the kite-flying ban will be reimposed after the festival.

The Basant festival has been celebrated in Lahore for centuries. Basant means “yellow” in the Hindi language, a reference to the fields of blooming flowers that grace the area as spring approaches.

Islamic hard-liners in predominantly Muslim Pakistan oppose Basant because they consider it a Hindu festival.

Some more pictures of the Basant festival from Flickr…
Basant 2003 001.jpg

Shopping around

This is an awesome Flickr photo set from flickr user “AhMaD RoXx in VanCouVer’s”.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/81473005@N00/sets/72057594056233074/

KiteGen Project

Found an interesting article on iafrica.com today about another project aimed at using kites to generate electricity. This concept is more of a merry-go-round with large kites tethered to spokes. Some prelminary trials have been done and a small test showed that it was possible to produce energy using this design. A team has been assembled and they will begin work on larger prototypes.

You can find more information here…
KWG Project

A cool flash simulation showing how the kites would fly can be found here.Kite power – Flash Demo

Kite power
Popular Mechanics, December 2006 issue.
Thu, 28 Dec 2006
By Alan Duggan

LET’S not beat about the bush here: unless we do something pretty damn dramatic to slow the pollution of our atmosphere, the world as we know it is going to change — and not for the better.

In fact, some scientists believe it’s already too late to halt the progress of global warming, citing the relentless consumption of fossil fuels, the melting of the ice caps and many other portents of disaster (for the sake of brevity and everyone’s mental equilibrium, we won’t go into the cavalier dismissal of the Kyoto Accord and other initiatives aimed at curbing the dreaded greenhouse effect).

Against that, we should be encouraged by the fact that scientists, engineers and assorted futurists are trying to avert the looming crisis with a host of strategies, including the development of safer and more affordable nuclear power (see “A new atomic age”, November issue) and proposals for the safe storage of nuclear waste — if there is such a thing.

Some of their ideas are workable only on the basis of hugely optimistic assumptions — for example, a sizeable proportion of the world’s motorists deciding to swop their muscular gas-guzzlers for wimpy fuel cell-powered vehicles costing three times as much — while others are characterised more by gee-whiz ingenuity than practicality.

Some of the more provocative ideas exist only in the form of outrageous concept drawings and small prototypes with cute names.

We’ve heard about wave power (actually, this is one of the few concepts with serious potential), geothermal power (again, quite effective, but not suitable for rolling out on a large scale), wind power (experimental wind-powered turbines are already doing their bit in South Africa), and many other strategies — including (as we recall from our recent Great South African Inventors Competition) at least three utterly foolproof designs for “free energy”.

Now meet a concept that must rank among the most original yet — kite power.

Continue reading

Pakistani government hopes to lift ban on kite flying by making it safer

Kite flying in Pakistan has been a touchy subject over the last couple of years. The government is now trying to come up with a way to allow its citizens to participate while making it safe for the general public.

I think no matter what happens some people will still insist on using “manja” type line or even worse wire or chemically treated mono-filament line…


“The Pakistani News Paper wrote

by Amir Mir
LAHORE, Dec 17: The Punjab government is thinking of lifting the ban on kite flying and related businesses and make the sport safer.

According to well-placed sources in the Punjab government, the provincial chief minister Pervez Elahi wants to lift the ban on kite flying in order to revive the spirit of the centuries old colourful spring festival of basant.

Therefore, they said, the government departments concerned are trying to evolve a consensus among stakeholders on how to once again make the sport safer.

Annual revenue
The sources said the chief minister believes that it is necessary to save the sport because it generates an annual Rs2 billion (Dh120 million) revenue in Lahore alone on the occasion of basant, which also needs to be protected as it has become an international event.

The Punjab government had to ban kite flying last year following a series of deaths in accidents involving the twine.

The ban was imposed under a directive from the Supreme Court, which had taken suo motu notice of the deaths.

The government had nevertheless relaxed the ban on the occasion of basant but it had to re-impose it following more deaths.

As kite flying is the main component of basant, many Lahorites indulged in the sport despite a police crackdown. Before basant, the government had also promulgated an ordinance on January 22, 2006, to
regulate kite flying and prevent the sale of dangerous twine.

But there was a complete ban on the sport and its related businesses since then.

The government sources said the dominant view in government circles is that deaths were caused by irresponsible actions. And the actions of some people should not be allowed to destroy the festival and the kite business providing livelihood to thousands of families.

They said the intention was to allow only the original form of kite flying and discourage dangerous trends.

Beautiful kites in Guatemala

Here is a short video showing some of the amazing kites that are flown in Guatemala during the “day of the dead” celeberations.

Here is a link to the article I blogged

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last year about this same holiday…Kite flying: day of the dead