This year turned out to be a special year for Sri Lanka as the country was bestowed with the opportunity to host the 14th United Nations International Vesak Festival.
To make the occasion even more special and to add more colour to the celebrations, the Ravana Aviation Kite Association (RAKA) organized a kite show. The ‘Ravana Aviation Vesak Illuminating Kite Show’ which was held on May 10 was the first such kite show ever to be held.
Buddhists all over the world celebrated Vesak to mark the birth of Prince Siddhartha, the Enlightenment, and the Parinibbana of the Buddha.
According to the Founder-Chairperson of Ravana Aviation Academy, Captain Harsha Govinda Koralearachchi, the vision and the philosophy of the Buddha is not solely for the benefit of Buddhists but all humans.
“This year UN International Vesak Festival was held under the theme, ‘Buddhist Teachings for Social Justice and Sustainable World Peace’. One of the objectives of the kite show was to establish social stability by ensuring that the Buddhist philosophy reaches other communities as well,”explained Capt. Koralearachchi.
He mentioned that the country had faced several unstable situations due to religious and communal tension over the years. This, he pointed out, was due to the fact that other communities were unaware of the Buddhist philosophy.
“The sky is the best media to convey the message of Buddhism to the world,” he explained further.According to Capt. Koralearachchi, the second objective of the kite show was to encourage the use of renewable energy.
“I want the new generation to think of new ways of generating electricity using wind, a renewable energy.”As the event requires the kites to be illuminated, the participants must seek new methods of producing electricity.Capt. Koralearachchi revealedthat this was the first time such an event was organized and held in Sri Lanka.
The third objective is to use the concept to promote Sri Lanka as a tourist destination.
Three types of kites were exhibited in this open competition.The first type of kite exhibited contained messages from Buddhist philosophy on the surface of the kite, which were lit by LED bulbs.
The second category contained miniature illuminated Vesak decorations. Participants were advised not to use candles to illuminate Vesak decorations.The third category of kites used wind turbines, which allowed the kites themselves to generate electricity.
The show also saw the participation of four Indian kite clubs, exhibiting their support in celebrating Vesak in the sky for the first time.
“Kite dynamics and avionics go together,” opined Capt. Koralearachchi. “Involving children in kite making and running is of utmost importance. We must allow children to communicate with the sky, and the importance of self-experimentation and experience,” he reiterated.
“This will revolutionize the field of aviation and rest assured in the future the new generation will introduce new aviation technology,” said Capt. Koralearachchi.
According to Capt. Koralearachchi, aviation is a very tangible field where sound technology and a lot of money are required. He added that at present Sri Lanka lacked a systematic process of teaching aviation in schools.
Capt. Koralearachchi informed that on July 2016 the first Northern Province Aviation School Club was launched in Central College, Jaffna in order to broaden the horizons of aviation. Sixteen hundred students have joined the club from four schools in Jaffna. “A Ravana Aviation Kite Air Show was conducted there and children came up with innovative ideas such as turbine powered kites,” saidCapt. Koralearachchi.
Capt. Koralearachchi pointed out that the aviation field had several career opportunities and was not limited to piloting.
“We teach them the current technology of aviation. We are giving them a mould, a frame to follow. But if we are to develop as a nation, we should break the mould in order to give the future generations a chance to invent new things.”