Uttarayan brings people together in Gujarat

January 8th, 2009 - 10:14 pm ICT by ANI  

By Ami Sharma
Ahmedabad, Jan.8 (ANI): Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti is one of the biggest Hindu festivals celebrated in Gujarat. A large number of people here mark it as a kite festival, in which people from all communities participate.
These kites are chiefly made by members of the Muslim community. Ahead of the festival, there is usually high demand for kites that are made available in the in attractive hues and sizes in the markets.
Many Gujaratis believe that Uttarayan festival is not just about an occasion when people fly kites but it is a time which also promotes and strengthens harmony among Hindus and Muslims in communally sensitive State.
Thousands of Muslims in Gujarat are into the kite making business. Every one of them feels proud to be a part of such business. These days the kite makers as well as the kite flyers are busy preparing for the upcoming festival.
Jamalpur Kite market in Ahmedabad sets a good example of communal harmony. The Muslim-dominated market has been making a variety of kites for decades for kite flyers. .
Umar Bhai, a Muslim kite maker, has been into this business for over 35 years. He feels glad to be a part of the ”Uttarayan” festival.
“Uttarayan is a festival of communal harmony. We feel proud that we make kites for our Hindu friends. Here, every kite maker is a Muslim and the buyers are Hindus. But this divide (on religious lines) has never affected the affection and love among us, says Umar Bhai.
This year the kite festival will help us forget recession and the Mumbai terror attacks. Nobody can create a divide between our two religions; we are like brothers. Hindu brothers come this side to purchase kites and we welcome them,” Umar Bhai adds.
Meanwhile, the kite lovers have already started visiting the markets. The buyers are of the view that Muslim kite makers are skilful and innovative.
The traders say that demand for kites has gone down this year. Shopkeepers dealing in kites are hopeful that customers will soon come to buy kites for marking Uttarayan festival.
” Though there is recession in the market and terror attacks have ruined the festive atmosphere we still want people to be one and work together said Mukhtaar Ahmed Sheikh, another kite maker.
During Uttarayan, the sky in Gujarat would be dotted with innumerable colourful kites of various shapes and sizes. The kite fliers throng the roof terraces and open spaces amidst loud music and festive fervour.
Uttarayana is the time when the Sun travels towards north on the celestial sphere. The starting of Uttarayan is celebrated as Makar Sankranti throughout India. (ANI)

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