Kite-flying is a popular pastime not only among boys but also among a certain section of grown-up people. It is common to Punjab as also to other provinces in Pakistan. In England and China too it is prevalent. In Britain, Kite-flying was imported from China about the end of the seventeeth century.
A kite is generally made of a piece of thin, coloured paper cut in the shape of a rhombus. A frame is formed of two thin bamboo sticks, one straight and the other curved in the form of a semi-circle. The curved stick is tied or gummed to the straight one with a strip of paper. The prepared paper is then pasted on to the frame thus formed at the four corners. Two holes are then made near the centre of the straight bamboo stick and a piece of string passed through the holes in such a manner that the kite balances. Very often a tail, both for the purpose of balancing the kite and adding to its beauty, is attached.
The balancing string of the kite is then tied to a large length of thread, which is wound on a reel and the kite is ready for flying. The person who wants to fly the kite holds the thread of the kite in his hand. while another person goes to a distance catching the two ends of the kite. The later then throws the kite upwards with a jerk, and the flier begins to tug at his thread. If there is a favourable wind blowing and if the flier he skilful, it rises high up in the air till it is no bigger than a speck. The thread required for the kite must be slender but strong.
As in the case of other sports and pastimes so in the case of kite-flying, matches are held. These matches are generally held between two unknown parties, and sometimes between known parties. The interest of these matches centres round the cutting of the kite of a rival, without allowing one’s own kite to be cut, for the aim of the opponent will also he to cut the other kite. A kite match is very interesting to see. The contests go on till it is dark, or the stock of one of the parties is exhausted. The winner is the person who loses the least number of kites.
Except the fact that it is pastime, the game of kite-flying is not useful in any other way. Like football or cricket, it does not help the formation or culture of any habit or quality. On the contrary, in towns and cities it is attended with serious consequences. Open fields, which are essential for flying kites, being rare in these places, kites are usually flown from the roofs of houses, which are often without parapets. The kite-flier, deeply absorbed in his occupation, often forgets that he is on dangerous ground, and, falling over the roof, loses his life. Such instances are not uncommon in towns and cities.