Against a yellowing sky a boy flies a kite from the roof of a house in the old quarters of Delhi as people celebrate the country’s Independence Day on 15 August. AP
Kite flying and kite battles are an Independence Day tradition in Delhi. The normally packed roads of the Old Delhi remain empty as people crowd their roof-tops to fly kites and engage in animated battles. Photographs: Pooja Chaturvedi/Mint
he sky is dotted with hundreds of colourful kites and people engage in kite-flying competitions. The tradition of flying kites on this day began after independence though the traditional kite flying day comes on Makar Sankranti in January each year.
The colours and the chaos of the Walled City are set against the rising towers of New Delhi in the distance. The flying of kites is one of the events that separates the old from the new in India’s capital.
Kites soar against the background of the majestic Jama Masjid. This is one time when the old, the young, men, women and children participate enthusiastically in the sport.
Kites have no religion with fliers from various communities engaging in aerial battles on behalf of their various ‘mohallas’. Along with the blaring patriotic songs, shouts of “wo kata”, “lapet” and “Aa gai” are common.
Independence Day is one of the busiest time for Delhi’s kite sellers. Many shops in Old Delhi’s Lal Kuan which sell metal utensils during the rest of the year, turn into make-shift kite shops on 14th and 15th August.
Kites painted with the tri-colours are a hot favourite. Kite-sellers say this year kites with ‘2013’ written on them, were also very popular.