The history of Basant

Manzoor has authored a great post on Basant. We are cross posting it here – given that many Lahore Nama visitors are talking of Basant and expressing their great enthusiasm for the festival.  Raza Rumi (ed)

Basant is a centuries old cultural tradition of Punjab. Over the years, it gained an element of controversy as the fundamentalism wiped the norms of tolerance and co-existence in our society. Disregard of law and for the lives of fellow citizens turned it into a bloody sport.

Recently I came across a book “URS AUR MELAY” by Aman Ullah Khan Arman, published by Kitab Manzil Lahore in 1959. I am reproducing the chapter on Basant (p.276-277) here: “Basant (a Sanskrit word for spring) is a seasonal festival of Indo-Pak sub-continent and it has no religious bearings. Basant is the herald of the spring and celebrated in winter (Magh) on the fourth or fifth day of lunar month. This is the reason why it is called Basant Panchami. Basant season starts on this day, therefore, Basant is regarded the herald of spring, wheat grows, and mustard blossoms in this season. (Old Aryan tradition divides a year into six seasons each having two months. Mustard blossom that is yellow in color is considered the color of spring and accordingly yellow outfits were worn). 

BASANT’S MODE:

According to poet Kalidasa, rivulets and streams suddenly started flowing, mango bear flowers, honeybees hum and love god enamors the hearts in Basant…

BASANT’S TRADITIONS:

In pre-partition India Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs all celebrated Basant. Basant festivals held in all major cities of Punjab. Yellow clothes were worn; men wore yellow turbans and women yellow dupattas and saris. It was common to sway swings among Hindu, Muslim and Sikh women together and Basant’s traditional songs were sung that reflected the liveliness and romance of life in Punjab. Kite flying was common but on a small scale with decency.

POST-PARTTION BASANT:

After partition where many other evils take roots, some festivals too lost their original colors. After departure of non-muslims Basant was reduced to kite flying and other traditions were also forgotten. Now a day neither yellow clothes nor swings came in sight or any civil activity. Here and there, crowds of kite flyers show their ill manners. Children, grownups and old alike fly kites on rooftops from dawn to dusk. Kite battles and brawls are common scenes…

KITE FLYING EPIDEMIC:

Most of the kite flyers are less educated or illiterate laborers. Some educated also do the same and the kite flying epidemic is spreading among the school children”.

This is a narration of Basant celebration nearly 50 years ago but much has changed. Sadly, the festival has lost its true colors and instead became a game of death.

Celebrate Basant- but don’t snatch away lives.

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28 responses to “The history of Basant

  1. Thank you so much for sharing these words here ..We need more such words to remember and learn ..

  2. The transformation that takes place in nature at this time is unbelievable …….more noticeable if you life in open environs……kite or no kite,Basant is a time of renewal in nature and in the human heart too……

  3. I see that author understands that post-Independence Lahore is worst, not better, than pre-partition days. And he is right. Like almost all festivals, this festival of colours and spring is now pure vulgarity. Lahoris, most of them from many parts of Northern India, are of a very vulgar nature and not mild as they used to be before 1947. How I miss mild Hindus and pre-partition Muslims in Karachi and Lahore.

  4. I lOVE BASANT….

  5. Basant has lost the flavour in most cities of India and even in Punjab. We do find some celebrations in rural areas but mostly limited to attending prayers at Gurudwara or Mandir.

    Kite flying, Bhangra, Gidha and fairs are left in the books or old pictures.

  6. Pingback: Spring is here:) Happy Holi:) « बातों बातों में….Chai conversations

  7. there should be some software related to education like dictionary.

  8. thats Gr8…i like it…

  9. I Miss Basant

  10. yaar koi news nahi hai k BASANT ho ge yaa nahi

  11. LAHORE WALOON BASANT KO BHOOL GAYE HO KYA

  12. AOA..

    I am not discussin upon the definition of “culture” ,culture is made by number of people. taklkin about lahore cultrure was BASANT FESTIVAL, let us ponder over why this festival was banned why this culture was not preserved , was not protected why it was banned …cant people for two days place wire infront of bike for their own safety..without any proper strategy this festival was banned the foreigns use to visit pakistan and thus enhances the economy growth.
    our hotels, airlines companies, local shop purchasing , wages increase among poor class, and this all became depleted because of poor strategy and negligence.
    we do not have our own happiness everything is dissovle in the name of “religion” . we should think on broader scale as well..as suffocated, desperate and disappointed vicinity around making the people’s thinkin worse day by day . please provide some good news so that we could celebrate our happiness and forget our sorrows.
    thanks for the cooperation ,
    Adnan
    Germany

  13. message for Cheif Minister of Punjab

    Dear All,
    I would like the Respectable CM of Punjab to draw his attention on these points listed below:
    • Don’t let this beautiful festival vanish.
    • Bring strict law’s and enforce them.
    • Kite flying is a Sports, it has no religion or sect. So, please ignore how some people portray it.
    • Hatred towards this festival will never end it, but it will make matters more worse. My recommendation is to make this sports a envoirment friendly and safer for all human beings.
    • Kite Fliying has no dangers only if done with the right twine(dor).
    • A true kite flyer would never fly kites with metallic or chemical twine(dor).
    • Government with the help of (ALL PAKISTAN KITE FLYING ASSOCIATION or LAHORE KITE FLYING ASSOCIATION) should standardize the type of twine allowed.
    • No matter how BIG the Kite is made, if the twine(dor) is of the resonable thickness it will never slit anyone’s throat. So in this regard The Pakistani Government should approach the twine(dor) maker’s and oppose a strict law that they should only make twine(dor) of the thickness to which is good to fly kites but should not slit anyone’s throat. In parallel, in order to save this colourful BASANT FESTIVAL, Government should immpose strict law on the motorcyclist’s that they should use the wire to cover the top of the bike and wear helmet.

    Please Note: We can fly kites all year long if all of us take the right mesures for it.

    Kite Flying is my passion, i am crazy about kite flying, I will do what ever it takes to restore this festival.
    @ Adnan Rashid: i totally agree with ur views.

    Regards,
    Ahmad Sheikh

  14. imran amanat ali

    i am imran raj pot basant hooni chaiha motor bike per cable chemical door n kro

  15. imran amanat ali

    hello chemical door na isstamal karo hard actin who
    use bike per afajaty tar laga do or basant khool do

  16. hello chemical door na isstamal karo hard actin who
    use bike per afajaty tar laga do or basant khool do

  17. BASANAT HONI CHHI
    LAHORE BASANAT KA LIA MEASUREMENT
    1 MOTOR BIKE PER TAR HOONI CHHI AFAJTY
    HOW USE CHEMICAL DOOR AND SALE ACTION POLICE PANCH YEARS SAJA DAA OR USE CALCH DOOR EFFECTED ELETRICTY ACTIN WHO USE
    CARKI USE NORMAL DOOR INTRODUCED ONLY USE THIS DOOR
    5000000 PEOPLE PEOPLE IN PAK WHO PRAPARING
    PISTOL FIRING WHO USE HARD ACTION POLICE
    KITE ONLY 6 TAWA ONLY

  18. Gujranwala mein basant ho gi yan nahi?

  19. yar moon gujranwala mein basant ho gi inshallah 24,25 ko reply most

  20. It should be appreciated by high ups that not asingle person in Lahore tried to celebrate Basant in Lahore. So law abiding people of Lahore. Subhan Allah. There is news that Basant was celebrated in all major cities f Punjab and Karachi. It must be appreciated by all people of Pakistan that Lahoris
    let this centiries old festival go away with heavy heart. Gornment could not sort ourt any plan in association with kite flying lovers.

  21. INSHALLAH, <> PAKISTAN <> Will Win The Match from India <> PAKISTAN ZINDABAD <> OUR PRAYERS are with …
    PAKISTANI Team

  22. <<>>~ PaKisTAN ZiNdAbAD ~<<>> 2011 ka Would Cup Hamara hai ………………….. INSHALLLAH

  23. yr is dafa basant ho rhi ha lhr m ya nai 2012

  24. pta nai ap ko pta chale to mga b btana maham….

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