Basant Festival Woes: Iqbal Husain’s Kite Fiasco in Lahore

Authors: 
Ben Ruhe
Article type: 
Journal

After 42 years abroad and supported by a Drachen Foundation grant, Iqbal Husain returned to his native Pakistan to attend the Basant festival in Lahore. In a largely Muslim country, Basant is seen as a joint Hindu-Muslim festival. His remit was to study and document indigenous kiteflying during the celebration honoring spring..

Husain was one of several international fliers invited to attend and he was asked to bring 50 kites for flying and for exhibition.

Between invitation and departure, however, grave problems developed.

Three Chinese engineers were killed by insurgents in Baluchistan, thus quashing visits by Chinese kitefliers, A video of British troops appearing to abuse Iraqi youths caused agitation in the Muslim world generally and Pakistan in particular. And kiteflying caused several deaths in a country where dangerous new metal-coated nylon kiteline posed a peril far worse than traditional glass-coated cotton line had in the past.

Page Number: 
29