KFA president hopes Basant will be celebrated as Governor Taseer in favour
By Ali Usman
LAHORE: There are bright chances of celebrating Basant and preparations for the festival have commenced with the change in the provincial administrative setup, Kite-Flying Association (KFA) officials told Daily Times on Thursday.
The KFA has been campaigning for Basant since months, and held several meetings with senior government officers, including the home secretary and the law minister, but could not convince them to allow the celebrations for the spring festival. On Tuesday, the association protested at the Lahore Arts Council against the Punjab government’s decision to continue the ban imposed on kite-flying.
KFA: The association said Governor Salmaan Taseer was in favour of celebrating Basant, and they were hopeful the city would be allowed to celebrate the festival on March 1. KFA President Khawaja Nadeem said the festival was closely associated with the city’s culture. The KFA general secretary said people from Dubai, Europe and US were coming to celebrate Basant, adding that there was no concept of celebrating the festival without flying kites. He said preparations for Basant could be finished in a very short span of time if the sale of kites and string was allowed. “The hurdles in the way of celebrating Basant have gone with the change in government,” he added.
Eminent artist Dr Ejaz Anwar, who has depicted the essence of Basant in his paintings, said the festival was a celebration of the spring season and was not associated with the Indian culture. He said night Basant should not be allowed, adding that police could monitor the activities during the day. Citing safety reasons, he said aerial firing and use of prohibited string should not be allowed.
National Sufi Council Vice-Chairman Yousuf Salahuddin said Basant had the potential to become one of the largest festivals of the world. He said the festival could be used for improving the country’s image if strict administrative measures were taken. He said Basant could be related to Urs of Madhoo Lal Hussain, adding the government should plan ahead for next year’s Basant. He said the government could invite 500 tourists to the event, and the number could be increased gradually. He said it was a Punjabi festival, and the government should take measures to make it a big festival instead of imposing a ban on it.
Basant is being celebrated in Gujranwala, Wazirabad and Faisalabad on Friday, and the night Basant would also be observed there. Daily Times, 26-Feb-09
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