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With the wind on a string...

Bhai Miyan... .promoting fraternity.

WHILE PASSIONATE kite-flyers are becoming a rare breed in Delhi these days, there is an elderly gentleman, Bhai Miyan, who is not only proficient at flying kites but also loves passing his famed expertise to adolescents. Sitting on a tiny chair at India Habitat Centre, Bhai Miyan with his flowing snow-white beard reminds of Santa Claus. Like the saint who distributes gifts to children, Bhai Miyan, still young at heart, loves passing off his legendary skills, which have earned him a name in the Limca Book of Records, to youngsters.

This Independence Day when the residents of Delhi were enjoying a few hours of leisure the craftsman displayed his formidable skills by tying 200 kites on a single string.

Rivulets of sweat cascaded down Bhai Miyan's temple but he was all keyed up to finish off the unfathomable task of flying 200 kites on a solitary string. As he says: "As a young boy I used to gaze at the skies endlessly to see crows and eagles hovering around. I was bewildered that something can go up in the air and stay on for long durations. Then my father told me how to make a framework of plastic and attach a string to it. Like goats move dextrously in a herd I also rehearsed flying my kite along with other kites. When my kites used to falter either through high velocity wind or broken string, I began to ponder as to how to adopt new strategies and techniques to derive pure bliss of uninterrupted flying."

There wasn't much of prodding and coaxing required in the initial days. Bhai Miyan was keen to carry on with his obsession and always found time to continue with his hobby on the sprawling parks outside the Red Fort. He says: "I stay in Dujana House at Jama Masjid's Matia Mahal. My fondness for this hobby has been gifted by my father."

A goldsmith by profession, he has worked for Bhola Nath Jewellers in Connaught Place. He remarks: "That is a different craft. It requires magical fingers to make gold bracelets and I learnt tricks of the trade from Ustad Bashir Ahmed. However, my biggest regret is that I couldn't get the benefit of modern education. Had I attained education then I would have been miles ahead in my profession. I would have been able to present myself in a better fashion and this would have given me sponsors. I would have had many more trophies in kite-flying competitions than I have today."

Even in the twilight of an eventful life, Bhai Miyan, through his penchant for kite flying, wants to promote peace and brotherhood among all Indians, irrespective of their religious denomination. At a time when the nation is passing through unimaginable turbulence and bloodshed we need more messengers of peace like him.


Photo: R.V. Moorthy.

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