HIS KITES are a myriad of designs and colours, and are handcrafted from a variety of materials like rice paper, butter paper, cloth, leather and many others. Meet 65-year-old Umar Daraz, who is Delhi-based, and has been practising the art of kite making for over four decades. “I started learning the craft at 11 from my father who unfortunately passed away during that time. Since then, the business fell into my hands and I have looked after it for over 45 years now,” said Daraz, who is constantly travelling all over the country to various art and craft exhibits and earns whatever little he can from his kite sale that is his only source of livelihood.
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He is currently in city to showcase some of his kites at the Dastkari Haat Samiti’s craft bazaar.
Even his children assist him in the ancestral art of kite making. His oldest daughter, Sameena Parveen, has been awarded the Kamala Devi award by the Crafts Council of India. Parveen is now married but continues to help her father in his business.
“My family is in this ancestral business right from my daughters to my son, Mohammad Usman, who is currently studying in the ninth grade. I have always encouraged them to study while still learning the art of kite making as they can always get back to this business for income if they do not get a job after their education,” adds Daraz.
Daraz’s art of kite making has received several accolades from the government and his craft has also been recognised and appreciated internationally. He has travelled to over six countries, some of which include Russia, France, England, Mauritius and the UAE.
“I never made kites with the intention of winning awards. The government has been very kind to promote my art globally due to which I was able to visit so many countries. I have visited France for over 4 times now for their International Kite Festival and have even won a silver trophy for my craft.” said a proud and happy Daraz, adding that the use of best quality bamboo sticks and paper makes the kites sturdy and durable.
Asked about what makes his kites standout , he said, “My kites do not need huge open spaces for flying unlike foreign-made kites that require a huge ground. Just give me a small space and I will set the kite flying.”