Before war broke out in Afghanistan, Gudiparan Bazi (kite flying) was a common hobby of many Afghans throughout Afghanistan. For many, it became a matter of honor to compete among the best kite fighters in their neighborhoods.
Goal of Kite Fighting
To be the last kite still flying in the sky after cutting down your opponent’s kite with your wire (tar).
For kite runners, the coveted prize was the last fallen kite of a winter
tournament. It was a trophy of honor, something to be displayed on
a mantle for guests to admire. When the sky cleared of kites and only
the final two remained, every kite runner readied himself for the chance
to land this prize.
The Kite Flyers
- To have an operational flying unit, it would take 2 people.
- One person flies the kite (leader) and the other to keep the charkha (the spool of wire).
- Gudiparan literally means flying doll. They come in a variety of sizes.
- Most are the familiar kite shape.
- They are made of thin paper and are supported by bamboo wood, allowing for flexibility.
The Wire (Tar)
- The wire that connects the kite to the leader is really important and determines the success of kite fighting.
- Glass is ground up and mixed with an adhesive material and mashed rice to make a paste.
- The wire is dipped into the adhesive and after it is dry, it is wound around the spool (charkha).
- The coated wire is sharp and is designed for kite fighting.
- As soon as the wire of a kite touches another, the fight has begun.
- It can last anywhere from a split second to a ½ hour depending on wind, the wire, or any other factor.
- The general concept is to release wire and avoid pulling while in the fight. The faster you release the more likely one will win the fight.
- It is mostly a game played by boys.
- Once the loser of the fight has lost the kite, it is released into the air without guidance and follows the direction of the wind. This is a great opportunity for someone else to catch it.
- This person is referred to as a kite runner – running after the falling kite.
The Kite symbolizes;
- A game and pass time that Amir and Hassan share together
- Is the bond that ties them together in both positive and negative ways.
- The kite is like a free spirit – Is either Amir or Hassan a free spirit?