Revelry, Thy Name Is Basant
By A.H. Cemendtaur

There is something mesmerizing about flying kites.  The kite that you were holding in your hands just minutes ago, is now a dot in the sky, and you are holding the string - an umbilical cord, your connection to a small part of you now rising towards the heavens. 

A while back when many Hindus in Punjab converted to Islam, they kept the tradition of celebrating Basant, a festival to celebrate the arrival of spring.  Somehow kite-flying became a part of that annual spring feast and Lahore became the center of the Basant-celebrating universe. 

Good for the Lahoris, good for the rest of the world!  Pakistani American Culture Center (PACC; http://www.pacc-ca.org/ ) — under the guidance of Mohammad Asghar Aboobaker and through the sweat equity of its president, Farrukh Shah Khan — has been organizing Basant festival in the San Francisco Bay Area for the last several years.  This year’s Basant festivities took place in the Baylands Park in Sunnyvale, on Sunday, May 16. 

Basant revelers flew kites and ate desi food while Awaz, a Bay Area group, sang popular Pakistani and Indian movie songs.  Pakistanis at Stanford (PaS), a group of Pakistani and Pakistani-American students at the Stanford University , under the leadership of its president Fahad Mahmoood, celebrated Basant, a week earlier, on Saturday, May 8.

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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