Back in history when Tri-colour kites ruled skies of India

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Kolkata: India is celebrating its 74th Independence Day and the skies will be filled with Tri-colour once again. Kite flying has been a tradition of Indian culture and festivals, but it is more than a celebration. Kite flying is considered to be an integral part of Independence Day as well. Ever wondered why India is so passionate about kite flying on Independence Day? On 15th August, the Tri-colour kites soar high in the sky, symbolising a free nation that India become on this day in 1947.

Besides signifying freedom, it definitely has a background that will take us back to 1927. India was protesting against the Simon Commission along with the slogan ‘Go Back Simon’ coined by freedom fighters. Indians used kite flying as a medium of protest. People started writing the slogan on kites and flew them.

Tricolour flags sold on Independence Day

Let’s dig in a bit of how exactly the sports arrived in India. Though the exact origin of kite flying is not known. Author Nikita Desai in her book ‘A Different Freedom: Kite Flying in Western India; Culture and Tradition,’ wrote, Many believe that kites were first flown in China nearly 2800 years ago. Leaf kites were made and flown in different parts of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia may also well have been the first kites made by man.

The kite was brought to India by Buddhist missionaries through the Silk Route, later it spread out to Arabia, North Africa and Europe. In the late 19th and 20th centuries, they were also used for military purposes, to spy on the enemy, to fly lethal explosives against aircraft, etc.

Kite Flying by Suzuki Harunobu in 1766( Picture courtesy: metmuseum.org)

Kite flying has been a tradition especially in Northern parts of India. Every year, patang baazi (kite flying) competitions take place in parts of North India, especially in Old Delhi and Lucknow.

The number of kites has reduced today. It is our duty to take forward this tradition. Irrespective of caste, creed, sex, colour or religion, let us come together and take part in this sporting celebration. So leave behind your gadgets and revive your childhood, let the spirit of freedom sore up high in the sky. Let the sky become Tri-colour once again.

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