Like cricket, Gujarat had kite festival commentator

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Palanpur, Jan 13 (UNI) A running commentary of kite festival by late Jyotidra Dave, a prominent scholar and humourist of Gujarat literature, was as popular on All India Radio (AIR) in the early sixties as today's cricket matches on the television.

When his running commentary on kite flying was relayed on AIR, a large number of people from all walks of life would assemble near their radio sets in North Gujarat, where celebration of kite flying was alien.

Mr Dave could give commentary for hours. His narrative power was such that all images of kite flying in Surat or Ahmedabad were conjured up in the mind of listeners all over the state. His name became synonymous with the kite festival. He used to churn out minute details and protocols of kite flying during his commentary that people would eagerly await for the Makarsankranti day.

Mukund Brahmkshtriya, a 75-year-old history scholar in Patan, says ''Kite flying was never glorified as it was done in early sixties.'' ''In those days, Jyotidra Dave was very popular the same way as Amin Sayani for his musical programme 'Binaca Geet Mala'. His commentaries were punctuated with tips on thread, kites, art of kite flying and anecdotes about the kite festival,'' he recalled.

''I came to know for the first time through his commentary that the kite flying in Gujarat was as old as the advent of Parsis. It is said that the Parsis first introduced kite flying in Surat,'' he added.

Jethabhai Chaudhri, an 83-year-old enthusiast who was former principal of Sarvajanik High School in Mehasana, said ''At that time, no one knew about kite flying on Urayan. We could simply imagine the grand celebration of kite flying in Surat or Vadodara.'' ''Almost all youngsters assembled near the radio. There were very few radio sets in the city then. Even the transistors were not introduced in the market. Radio was sort of a status symbol then,'' he added.


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