I opened my eye to Lahore city where “Basant” was one of the most popular festivals of the spring season. “Basant” is a festival which has been celebrated in the Sub Continent, especially Punjab for long. It was celebrated to welcome the lively spring which brings back life to nature. This time, when the blowing breeze blooms with the fragrance of flowers, there are colors spread everywhere on the ground. Young hearts would warm up and want to color the sky as well.
The festivity came with the tradition to invite relatives and friends over and to prepare delicious foods all day long. In 90’s, it changed into a day and night festival. Almost all the rooftops were flooded with lights and sound of music. Bar-B-Q was prepared and served all the night. After some time, women started to take part and made it more glamorous. Girls with yellow and orange theme in their dresses could be seen singing, hooting and encouraging their teams. This attracted multinational companies and they took it at a level higher. I just can say that it was the most amusing and much-awaited festival for not only Lahoris but people from all over Pakistan and from abroad, loved to come and enjoy it.
When I grew up, it was a game mostly for men and youngsters. They would prepare themselves a month before and collect the best threads and kites. There were masters and gurus having tips for materials and tact for the game. People would have even cut their fingers due to threads but who cares. It was not only a day but it prolonged even after four to five months until it started raining in August.
Well, there are some pros and cons of everything. Unfortunately, some new money destroyed the actual festival and used prohibited and restricted thread that took the lives of many innocent people. This game which once used to be the inauguration of the color and beauty of spring became a bloody sport. The sportsman spirit vanished and fear of being defeated prevailed. Motorcyclists became the main victims and paid with their lives. People protested against this destruction and finally, Government banned this most amusing festival. In Pakistan, where people are already fighting against terrorism, another opportunity to celebrate had vanished.