There is an Urdu proverb “Be par ki uraana” or flying without wings. Indeed flying without wings or without any grounding is unrealistic, outlandish. We are quite adept at flying things without any basis, without any wings. We created a country without any roots in the ground and our Land of the Pure is still in the air, going haywire with the flow of the wind. We wholeheartedly believe in the be par ki stories: “9/11 never happened”. “Bin Laden was not captured from Pakistan”. “The whole world has nothing better to do than conspire to destabilize our great Islamic Republic”. “Our own beloved jehadis had nothing whatsoever to do with the Mumbai blasts”. “TTP is a benevolent ghairatmand group, having no connection with the dastardly terrorist attacks on our forces or our civilians”. “Malala Yousafzai was never shot, it was all a western conspiracy.” And so on and so forth.
No wonder we have done away with Basant. After all, kites don’t fly without a string. Kites fall down and are looted when their strings are cut. We prefer flying without wings, without strings. No danger of chemical dor. No risk of injuries to the looters, the dhanga brigades, as be par ki kites don't come down. They keep going up and up, staring us in our faces, mocking us. There are other things about Basant, about kites, which scare the hell out of us: they are delicate, we hate all things delicate. They are beautiful, we are petrified at the sight of beauty.
They give us pleasure, and there is no sin greater than pleasure, joy, merry-making. During the Basant festival, kites are cut, not throats. Competition does not end up in shooting and killing. Basant is inexpensive, the poor man’s recreation. Yes indeed, the rich tried to snatch it away from the masses, the profiteers invented chemical string to cut throats, and the lazy police, and gutless officials found it convenient to ban Basant, rather than banning chemical dor. The “rok tham" committees, the kill-joy brigades, would rather ban Baasant, New Year, Valentine Day, Mela Chiraghan, Pashto films, girls schools, Moharram tazia, folk theatre, painting, sculpture and music classes. The thought of banishing exploitation, sectarianism, mehngai, violence against women, ethnic and political terrorism would not even cross their closed minds.
Today, our skies are barren and even the birds are being driven away, spring arrives but there is no colour, no joy… only endless highways, smoke-belching cars on the ground and polluted, stifling air. The sound of “Bo Kata” has been drowned in the deafening noise of “Kill in the name of Sharia”.