Published On: Fri, Feb 12th, 2016

Celebrations of Basant



‘Basant’ is going to celebrate at the Taxali Gate on Saturday on 13 February and the whole area will cover with fascinated hues and festivities. Although flying of the kite is forbidden as per law but there will be food and music from 6 pm to 11 pm.

The event is going to organize by a small group of 13 people including artists, academician, and social activists, also Farida Batool, Assistant Professor Cultural Studies, Haider Ali Jan, Mohsin Shafi, all from the NCA, and social activist Raza Khan.

One of the organizers, Raheem ul Haq, who is a public policy expert from the FC College, stated that “We came to Taxali Gate with another project in mind,” he further added that “But as we began work here, discussions with local residents revealed that the Basant tradition which was stopped in 2007, has brought up severe repercussions in their lives. Now we have begun to look at things in a larger perspective and we want to revive a discussion on restarting Basant.”

The resident of that area told that there was a problem that the Taxali Gate area had its own culture and music and entertainment was part of it. “Now that it has become a gated community, many routes that used to be open to us are now closed.” The residents further asserted that we cannot go directly to the Badshahi Mosque. “The (new) food street has spoilt our economy and culture. Tourists and visitors do not come through Taxali anymore, and cannot see what else the area has to offer. It is, in fact, a wonderful place.”

This is the main cause why the organizers chose Taxali for the Basant celebration.

It was elaborated as “It has always been a hub of culture and because Basant is now fast becoming a forgotten festival, for its revival, and for any kind of cultural renaissance in this city, Taxali is the place to begin. Here there are still ‘germs’ of true Lahori society.”

Prof Salima Hashmi asserted that the prohibition of Basant is a loss of cultural identity. She mourned as “It was the only unifying, secular festival, where people from all ages, all sects and religions, and all socioeconomic classes became equal. Kite making itself is an ancient art, and women were very involved in it. Today the ban has cost people their livelihood, and the economy of the inner city has been affected very badly,”

It was quoted as “There used to be rooftops filled with people, the sky was full of colorful kites, food typical of the festival including ‘qeemay way naan’, and ‘gaajar ka halwa’ would be consumed. There would be music, and excited shouts of ‘Bo Kata!’

Hashmi further told that Basant celebrations were considered as the advent of spring which is now not seem, “I do hope that it’s not dead yet and that it’s biding its time until people realize how important it is for the Lahori identity and how positive an occasion it is,” she added, “This was the only time when everyone united only to enjoy themselves.”


About the Author

Sidra Muntaha

- Sidra Tul Muntaha is a journalist (MA-Mass Communication and M.Phil in Mass Communication) based in Lahore. She is working as an editor at fashion, style and entertainment in the section of the Kooza. She writes fashion and entertainment articles for The Kooza News.