islamabad - National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage, Lok Virsa, will start a weeklong workshop of chunri (a cloth used to cover the head) and kite making under its craft of the month programme here from March 1.

The Craft of the Month programme has been launched with the theme of harnessing culture with education for students and young children to learn and know about the history and techniques of unique crafts. The workshop will conclude with a colourful festival of Basant on March 6 for fun lovers. Featuring colourful kites and highlighting traditional heritage, the event is open for masses to celebrate the Basant Kite Festival which is a seasonal festival of the Punjab region marking the start of spring. In various areas, Basant is a long established tradition of flying kites and holding fairs.

For celebrating Basant, people dress up in vibrant costumes carrying yellow, rustic, bright red or green colours while they also hold gatherings with traditional foods and fold music.

The 7-day programme every month emphasises on one particular craft every month while the students and faculty members from various educational institutions are invited to participate in the program. The activities of the program include introduction of master artisans and participants, demonstration of crafts by artisans, history and present standing of the craft, reading material to be provided by master artisans and Lok Virsa, learning about various techniques of crafts and material used in creating crafts and students and youth at work with craft preparation.

The programme aims to promote and perpetuate traditional skills of

Pakistan, provide knowledge to younger generation about the importance and utility of different crafts and serve as an opportunity for youth to learn about Pakistan’s rich, diverse and pluralistic cultural tapestry, said an official of Lok Virsa.

It focuses on creating link between culture and education, encourage

youth to value dignity of labour, foster ownership of their culture, inculcate respect for different professions and character building, help understand the contribution of artisans in the sustainable development of their community and country, engage youth in creative works by providing them on ground opportunities to learn the crafts from artisans and to recognize the hard work of artisans associated with various crafts in order to ensure continuity of the crafts from generation to generations. The kite flyers of various areas of Rawalpindi are facing strict crackdown as raids by police on the houses and kite selling spots continue.

Various police stations have sent their teams to the areas where youngsters are seemed to violate the ban on kite flying while women constables are also checking the kites and chemical strings stored in houses and impose the house owners with fine. Talking to APP, SHO Banni police station Sadaqat Khan said that 12 FIRs have been registered during the last week against the owners of the houses where the Basant preparation was under way.

He said the crackdown that started after February 10 will continue till March 15 and strict ban has been imposed on the Basant activities. The kite flying and Basant celebration has been announced in various areas of Rawalpindi despite the ban while strict action will be taken on such activities, he added.

Basant is the historical festival celebrated in spring season maintaining its historical identity in a colourful way but for the last few years when there were reports of incidents of injuries and deaths using metallic and chemical string, the festivity of Basant was banned creating frustration among those who used to celebrate Basant purely for promoting cultural values.

In last few years, despite the ban, the activities of the Basant were continued in an illegal way but during the current year, the police is monitoring the kite flyers even on rooftops across the city and arresting the enthusiastic youngsters and kite-flyers who seemed determined to not let the limitations of the law hamper their efforts to celebrate Basant. Most of the people are of the view that there should be no ban on Basant for people who follow their cultural traditions and celebrate the spring in colourful way but the use of metallic string should be monitored strictly to avoid such incidents.

According to the police, the sport of kite flying involves many risks as besides the incidents of injuries and death from the metallic string, the youngsters also fell down from the roof tops while flying kites resulting in serious injuries and deaths of many.