Mumbai: Dressed as a wounded bird wrapped in kite string and next to the tagline "Cut the Glass-Coated Manja, Not Birds’ Wings", actress Jiah Khan appears in a brand-new ad for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India. Ace photographer Farrokh Chothia shot the ad. The release of the ad coincides with the festival of Makar Sankranthi, during which kites are flown using glass-coated manja. When manja falls on trees and electric poles, it cuts through the wings of birds who get entangled in it. Thousands of birds are maimed and killed by glass-coated due to this every year.
The manja used for kite-flying competitions, is gummed and coated with powdered and finely crushed glass, which makes it extremely effective at cutting an opponent’s kite line. When this manja falls on trees and electric poles, it cuts through the wings of birds by entangling them in it. Thousands of birds are maimed and killed by glass-coated due to this every year.
The manja is also responsible for numerous human injuries and deaths every year, including passers-by traveling on bicycles, motorcycles or scooters. In such an incident in Mumbai, a stray manja nearly slit a man’s throat by slicing the man’s larynx and the surrounding muscles. Three people in Ahmedabad were decapitated by the same on Makar Sankranthi.
British-born 20-year-old Khan debuted in the controversial 2007 film Nishabd, opposite Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchan. Although the film received mixed reviews, she was noted for her confidence and sex appeal. Her latest release is Ghajini.
"Glass-coated manja is a public health hazard and causes an excruciating death for birds that get entangled in it. We’re asking participants in the Makar Sankranthi contests and all kite-flying competitors to immediately stop using glass-coated manja and to conduct their sport in a way that isn’t deadly to humans and wildlife," says Khan.