the Indian subcontinent was burning in the flames of Partition,
history has it that Hindus and Muslims of Jaipur were fighting
it out for the dominance in the sky. At 85, Nizam Bhai does not
have too many memories of that' dangal of tukkal' ( fight of the
kites) that kept the city busy, and miles away from the Partition
madness, during 1947. But he still remembers that his team had
I was representing the Hindus, who had promised
me a tin of badam ka halwa as prize", remembers Bhai."My
kite remained unbeaten in the air for 48 days, and when the Muslims
finally gave up, there was celebration all around. The Muslims
were the first to hug me." That September 1947 day
in the Bhattion Ki Basti of the walled city, was one of the milestones
in the history of kites. A history that is almost as old as Jaipur.
has it that Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh once decided to entertain
the wind god like no one else had. He would play with him, the
Maharaja decided. Bright, colourful kites were instantly designed
and flown in the sky.
those days, kites were called tukkals. The Maharaj used to invite
designers and kite-fliers from all over the world and then organise
competitions in the jungles sorrounding Amer. An entire cavalry
from his army used to be deployed for bringing back the kites
that crossed the jungle.
competitions used to be organised till the third quarter of the
20th century. Kite-fliers used to come from every part of the
country for the championships in Jaipur. The kites were used as
gladiators who used to enter the Sah ki kushti( battle of the
thread). The participants used to give dheel (thread) to their
kites till they disappeared from site, and then place bets on
kite-fliers used to be treated as heroes then. " People used
to watch Dilip Kumar Sahab's films and my skills, that was all
they cared for during those days."
that has changed now. Nizam Bhai, along with his long time foe,
Munni Bhai, are the only living members of that tribe of kite-fliers.
Sah ki kushti has become a mere memory as people now believe more
in keeping their kites flying short.
" Earlier people used to fly kites for three months before
Sakranti. Kite flying as a hobby has died. What has remained of
it is just a festival," says Madho lal, who has a kite shop
at the Ajmeri gate.
TV killed the kite. It's no longer fun to sell and fly them. It's
mere business," he said.
keep a first-aid kit handy.
eat a lot of til, pheeni, revari.
drink a lot of water, so that you don't get dehydrated.