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TRADITIONAL SPORTS OF ARUNACHAL PRADESH

29 Jun,2022 04:47 PM, by: Manna Mili
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Sports can be considered a crucial aspect of the overall development of an individual, as well as of society. By being actively engaged in any sport, it is possible to relieve our stress and keep our mental skills sharp. And we all are aware of the perks of being fit and healthy that come along with being a sportsperson. It also plays a vital role in spreading brotherhood among each other. As Knute Rockne, the former football player and coach of America, said: "One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than 50 preaching it." It is true that if most people were into sports, the world would become a peaceful place to live, as it will help us become the most disciplined version of ourselves.

Today, the entire sports industry represents a huge range of sporting events where countless people are engaged in a professional capacity. However, the world of sports does not just revolve around professionally recognized ones. Walk into any country or a region, and you’ll most likely find the locals engaged in other traditional sports as well, which may not have professional representation, but are still enjoyed by the people nonetheless. 

India is an ancient land holding millennia-old legacies of many cultures, that also comprises several games and sports. While we may be aware that games such as Kho Kho and Kabaddi have their origin in India, many among us may not be familiar with the fact that sports like Badminton and Polo were also first introduced here. In addition to this, sports like Judo & Karate which are attributed to East Asian nations, are believed to have been adapted from medieval India, where Buddhist monks first learned the ancient form of martial arts and later spread to other Asian countries as they traveled.

 Outside of the globally renowned sports that we are well-versed with today, there are many other traditional sports that are played across the remote regions in India. The easternmost Indian land of Arunachal Pradesh has also seen the origin of traditional games that were introduced by the indigenous tribes of the land when they were not connected with the rest of the world and had little idea about the sporting culture in other regions.

Let’s explore some of the traditional sports of Arunachal Pradesh, which are thoroughly enjoyed in the region - 

Dapo Nyarka Sunam (Bamboo Wrestling): 

This game is one of the most popular ones in the entire state but is mostly played by the Nyishi community. The Khamptis are also known to indulge in the sport but they call it ‘Keikaan’. Bamboo wrestling is played by the male members of the tribe with a round bamboo stick, roughly about three inches in diameter and about one and a half yards long. Each player is required to grasp the bamboo under their right armpit and push their opponents as hard as they can. The ones who first drop their opponents win the match.

Dak-Dal Dakasunam (Stick Walk): 

Dak-Dal is a game of balance and is very popular all over the state. This game can be played by both males and females. The only thing required to play the game is a 3-metre long bamboo or wood stick (preferably a burnished and handy one.) Each player has to lift both their legs on a small log made on the bottom of the bamboo to support their legs. Those who first reach the finish line without falling are declared the winners.

Archery: 

Although archery is a sport with widespread prevalence across the globe, Arunachali people also played the game for a long time and it is still played in the region. Before gun was invented, bows and arrows were the long-range weapons of the people. They used it for multiple purposes, such as in war, hunting, and also in games, like archery. The rules of the game are similar but the game itself is known by different names among different tribes.

                                    In Adi: Higa Apka Hinam.

                                    In Nyishi: Upuk Apka Sunam

                                   In Apatani: Appoo Alyii Ekasiining

Seene Chaksunam (Bamboo Climbing): 

Seene Chaksunam is similar to pole climbing competitions, which are played by the male members of the community. In this game, several polished bamboo poles or wood poles of 3 ft or more are firmly laid vertically on the ground. Players have to ascend as high as possible, and those who manage to climb the highest are the winners.

 Apart from the above-mentioned ones, there are many more traditional sports in Arunachal Pradesh that our forefathers used to play back in their time. However, as time progressed, people started adapting to the more popular games & sporting events practiced around the globe and got lesser drawn to playing the traditional sports. As a result, these traditional sporting events are being slowly forgotten by the present generation. 

There’s no denying that the global sporting platform offers tremendous scope to sportspersons from all walks of life to participate and build a professional career around it.  This has also enabled many talented youths from Arunachal Pradesh to showcase their sportsmanship on both national & international platforms, which in return has fetched laurels to the state. However, while Arunachal continues to strengthen its sports infrastructure to encourage aspiring youths towards participating in popular sports of global repute, initiatives should also be taken to not let the traditional sports perish away in the hands of time.

After all, true sportsmanship is not just about indulging in games that are popular. It transcends all kinds of sports, including the traditional ones. It would be great to see some of the traditional sports being revived and kept in practice as a way of preserving the local heritage of the land and passing it along to the emerging generations with time. 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Critical Script or its editor.

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