The festival Uttarayan in Gujarat welcomes many people to celebrate it amidst the quaintness of the city. Along with a myriad people celebrating the festival, the custom of kite flying is an added addition. Thousands of kites lurk around the sky and unfortunately become death traps for birds who're flying along the same plane as the kites.
The 'manjha' is the abrasive string that's used to fly kites and in more ways than one it serves as an entrapment for birds, who get caught within the string and either get injured or die while struggling to get out of the holds of entanglement, in numbers. Kites that are coated with powdered glass are extremely dangerous for birds, and every year we find mutilated pictures of different birds due to the manjha. In 2017, 3,000 birds were left injured and 500 dead due to this and the numbers keep increasing every year.
The festival-frenzied population show very little concern or empathy towards this grave problem but we have a few NGOs working in rescue and relief operations for these birds but it falls short each time. But this year things are going to go a little differently and Gujarat has made it possible to drive the point home by launching 'Karuna Abhiyan', a state-wide campaign that will help protect birds during the kite festival. If compassion has a state of mind, it's definitely amidst the people who've thought of such a generous deed to save the bird species from injuries and death.
The district administration of Ahmadabad is heavily involved in the safe-keeping of all the bird species and its collector Dr Vikrant Pandey is personally overseeing the campaign is successful, in the city.
Because the NGOs collectively couldn't find a final resolve about this grave issue, 2,023 volunteers from different NGOs have signed up with Karuna Abhiyan to find a solution to this problem and they've managed to save 4,506 injured birds so far, in the past two days, post the festival!
“Karuna Abhiyan has been a very successful campaign. The birds, which got injured during Uttarayan are being treated so that they can fly again. They will be kept in the shelter for few days till they fully recover,” the IAS officer told the local news media.
During the festival about 11 rescue and rehabilitation centres were set up, along with about ten ambulance services, around the city to aid birds who were hurt and injured.
The fact remains that people came forward and helped rescuing close to 5,000 birds who fell from the sky, absolutely injured and in a helpless state and NGOs and rehabilitation centres were put forth around town to make a difference to their lives and give them a new one, after they were looked after by trained professionals.
“Several of our vans went around the city, holding awareness programmes in schools and societies about the damage that kite strings can cause to birds. We also taught them how to attend injured birds and call for help,” said Mukesh Bhati, founder of a local NGO who was helping with the rescue missions.
We're really proud and honoured to even write about such big-hearted beautiful people, who selflessly went out of their way to form a community for compassion and love and help rescue birds who otherwise would have fallen to their death instead.