Green Cities

Kite flying in Kolkata gets a touch of green

A unique kite-flying festival was held in North Kolkata at Hedua on September 18, 2011 on the occasion of Viswakarma Puja. This was organized by the Department of Tourism, Government of West Bengal, in association with Crafts Council of West Bengal. Earth Day Network-India teamed up with the organizers to generate environmental awareness across general public and especially the children and youth of the city through green messages imprinted on kites that were flown during the event. Kites have always been an integral part of Indian history. It had much prominence during the Mughal reign when kite flying was a favourite pastime of the rulers. It was also a marked tradition with aristocratic significance in Bengal where kite flying was passionately observed by the ‘zamindars’ of Kolkata. Children of course, irrespective of social, cultural and economic barriers participated in kite flying with great enthusiasm and excitement. The clear blue skies and favourable winds offer perfect kite flying conditions during festivals like the Viswakarma Puja., the Makar Snakranti and the Akshay Tritiya. Even today during these occasions rooftops in the city, especially in North Kolkata are abuzz with joyful kite fights. For Earth Day Network-India, this was a unique opportunity for infusing education into culture and to highlight the importance of preserving traditional knowledge and ecological values. On the day of the event, Mr Rachpal Singh, Tourism Minister of West Bengal inaugurated the kite flying session at Hedua, one of the prominent locations in North Kolkata. National and international kite fliers, who participated at the kite flying competition in Ahmedabad were present during the occasion. Before the inauguration, there were kite flying and kite making workshops held by the organizers where EDN-India was invited to imprint its logos onto the kites, along with green messages in Bangla. Justice Shyamal K. Sen, Ex-Governor of West Bengal and Chairman, Human Rights Commission of West Bengal also graced the occasion and addressed the gathering at the closing ceremony. Karuna Singh and Tina Roy were present on behalf of Earth Day Network to participate in this joyous event.