“O Paar,” “O Kaat” shouts set to take Nagpurians on a high!

Nagpur: Come Monday the January 14, ‘Makar Sankrant’ day, the skies in Orange City will turn vividly colourful. The day marks the Festival of Kites. The blue skies will be dotted by kites of different sizes, hues and colours. The atmosphere in city will reverberate with ‘tuneful’ shouts of “O Paar” or “O Kaat” in accordance with the popular styles of different locations in city.

In Western parts of the city, “O Paar” shout is traditional (generally) whereas “O Kaat” shrill could be heard in pitched voice in Eastern part of the city. In between, both the shouts are in vogue.

However, the ban of manufacture, sale and use of nylon and glass coated manja threatens top dampen the kite spirits, of course, to some extent. A round of city, one could see the markets are flooded with all kinds of colourful kites. And the clandestine business of manufacture and sale of nylon manja, glass coated manja reached its peak despite a nationwide ban on the very dangerous stuff.

It is found generally that all the kite traders sell nylon manja clandestinely and also with a premium. The manja is in great demand from kite flyers of all age. The hubs of wholesale sell of kites and the banned manja are Gandhibagh and Itwari markets.

It is pertinent to recall that sale of nylon and glass coated manja has been banned nationwide by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) last year. The NGT had imposed a blanket ban on nylon and glass coated manja due to the threat it posed to humans, birds, and animals. But still the rampant sale and use of the banned manja continues unabatedly mainly due to lethargic attitude of concerned authorities to implement the ban in letter and spirit.

No doubt Makar Sankranti would be gala time for kite lovers. And it would also be hazardous time for many a kite lover as well as others. The banned nylon and glass coated manja may wreak havoc in one or another way.The deadly-manja thread is made by crushing glass into powder and sticking it to the thread. The manja thread is not only harmful to humans but birds as well.

Violation of the ban is a cognizable offense under Section 15 of Environment Protection Act, 1986. The offence is punishable with five years imprisonment and/or fine of Rs. 1 lakh. This year 10 offences have been registered so far for sale/stock/use of nylon manja.

But who cares…? is the attitude of diehard kite flyers and the greedy traders as well.

With the jolly time of kite flying comes a serious business act – Sharyat. Some closely fought contests take place mid air. Save your kite and bring the other person’s down is the name of the game called ‘Sharyat’ (a kind of gambling) in Nagpur parlance. In the “Sharyat” if the kite of a “Sharyati” gets cut (Kaat), he or she is loser.

And the loser pays the pre-determined money to the “Sharyat” winner. This is not a small game. Lakhs change hands as commercial areas such as Itwari, Gandhibagh, Sitabuldi, Dharampeth, etc are hubs of “Sharyat.” Bets are waged on snapping the kites of rivals. Police too don’t act against the “Sharyatis,” generally speaking. May be they are not aware of the “players” even though lakhs change hands. The show goes on without a hitch.