Polo Run: Howrah Hamlet Fights For Existence

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Howrah: Polo, ‘The King of sports’ is the game of elite class. It is also the play of Kings, Maharajas. This elite game is originated from Iran but our West Bengal is very much linked with polo game. Our correspondent Debjani Sarkar tried to find out the modern history of Polo game.

Polo is Perhaps the most ancient of games, when history was a legend, we find polo flourishing. Twelve hundred years ago the Persians (Iran) were playing it. Polo is a team sport played on horseback. The objective is to score goals against an opposing team. The export of polo ball gave the first foreign currency to our West Bengal by the villagers of Deulpur, howrah. It is unknown to many. The industry is also in danger now and wants promotions.

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In Iran, polo became a national sport, played by the nobility and military men. The game was formalized and spread west to Constantinople, east to Tibet, China and Japan, and south to India. Persian Emperor Shapur II learnt to play polo when he was seven years old in 316 AD. Iranian Poet Ferdous wrote about many polo tournaments in his ‘Sahanama’. Qutubuddin Aibak, the Sultan of Delhi, ruled as a Sultan for only four years, from 1206 to 1210, started this elite game in India but died accidentally in 1210 while he was playing a game of polo on horseback.

Modern polo originated in Manipur, a northeastern state of India. The first polo club was established in the town of Silchar in Assam, India, in 1833. Imphal Polo ground is the oldest polo ground of the India. Culcutta Polo club was established in 1862 by two British and is considered as the oldest polo club of the world.

Polo Game and Howrah

But this story isn’t about the history of the game. It is the story about the humble village of Deulpur, in Howrah that manufactures bamboo balls for polo players around the world.

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The villagers hack away at a hunk of bamboo root with their kathari, sending chips flying around them. Soon, a rough round shape emerges from the moss-ridden stump is chiseling. And a dying art suddenly gives life to a polo ball. Baug Brothers, Kole and Das were started manufacturing the bamboo balls. About 50 to 60 families were engaged with this occupation but all this now are past. After the entry of Argentina polo ball in 1990, this industry was loosed its glory.

Panchkari Nyogi, owner of a wooden shell at Deulpur said that they made the ball by hand and they did not use the machine for making it. But all this things are now past.

Dasrothi Bag, one of the Bag Brothers said that they got just Rs 20 out of making hundred ball and they made 25 to 30 balls per day.

Ranjit Mal, who made the polo ball once upon a time, said that he is still proud for his village that brought the first foreign currency. He is now an artist.

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Third generation of Bag Brother’s Subhas Bag, is now making polo sticks including camel, horse, cycle. According to him, Polo sticks give profits. He openly threw the challenge to the Argentineans. He also said that he believes in himself that one day he will make polo balls in machine and defeated the Argentinean polo ball market.

Edited By Piku Mukherjee (Argha)

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