Gujarat–Hub of Kite industries, Muslims are in front business
By Abdul hafiz lakhani
Our Correspondent, Ahmedabad
In Gujarat, Festival season is on. After Garba and Navratri, It is time for Dipawali—– festival of lights. and then Kite flying festival. A very big business opportunity for Muslims in Gujarat. Kite industry has soared in Gujarat and in more ways than then chief minister Narendra Modi’s claims on making it a success appear legitimate.
While Uttarayan, the mid-January festival, has been a favourite with the Gujaratis for flying kites, it was Gujarat government who turned it in to a major tourism event. Ahmedabad has been hosting International Kite Festival since 1989. However, it has been significantly scaled up in the last decade which has also seen significant expansion of commercial activities around it.Gujarat additional chief secretary industries Maheshwar Sahu credited then CM Modi with the way he turned around the industry.
“Modi used to take part in kite festivals personally. He had noticed the poor quality of materials used for making kites. A survey was conducted first in kite making clusters. Then design institutes were roped in for better designs and value addition in terms of quality raw materials,”.
Gujarat minister for industries Saurabh Patel didn’t put an exact figure for the revenue the industry earned but he toldthat the turnover of the industry could be over Rs 700 crore. “Apart from the boost to the kite making industry, which is now generating much more employment, in the longer duration there has been significant growth in terms of people travelling during the kite festival events which has assumed an international scale. All taken together, the turnover of the industry will be more than Rs.700 crores.”
During 2001-2002 was about Rs 35 crores and last year it touched Rs 500 crores. At least 70% of the workers employed in the industry were women, he said. Life has improved for kite maker Munvavar Husain, who lives in the Jamalpur area which is predominantly a Muslim area in Ahmedabad.
“A large chunk of people in Jamalpur area are involved in kite making. There is no doubt that things have significantly improved for us in last ten years.” “With the scaling up of the kite festival, demand has gone up considerably and though its largely seasonal activity, it has started providing enough for the people who would otherwise travel to other areas like Dehgam in quest of livelihood,” Husain said. “Now no one goes out for work as the kite making itself provides enough income to sustain for the year.”
Asifa Khan, one of the spokesperson and a prominent Muslim face of BJP in Gujarat, said unorganized industries like kite making and embroidery help large sections of people in the urban and semi-urban areas, mostly Muslims, to make a decent sum of money. “Modi’s vision and intervention has brought in significant change in the lives of these people as the state government has reacted to them in a planned cohesive manner, like organizing big events and linking them with tourism,” she told