TODAY -

Sagon Kangjei (Polo)
- Part 4 -

P. B. Singh *

2nd Manipur Statehood Day Women's Polo Tournament :: 21st January 2017
2nd Manipur Statehood Day Women's Polo Tournament on 21st January 2017 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam



In sagon kangjei the game was not played for certain length of time. There were no intervals or half time. The number of goals was agreed upon and the game went on until one team scored the agreed number of goals. There was really no hardship since the players and the ponies can be replaced as many times as one liked. Maharaja Chura Chand being fed up with the boastings of the youthful players and bickerings, fixed a match between the Ojas and the young players.

The number of goals was fixed at 100. Just as the midday cannon was fired from the 4th Assam Rifles lines, the match started and went upto about four in the afternoon after the Ojas was leading with 87 goals, as some players were hurt. Thangjam Chaoba during the match went out to quench his thirst. He had just taken a bite of a piece of sugar cane when his father espied him and came and scoffed at him.

He threw the sugarcane and went in. At the end of the game, he tells us, that he had to be supported by two men as he could not straighten his knees, and had to be fed since his fingers remained bent. Many suffered from blisters and bruises. Two basketful of polo balls were used up. Polo balls are made from seasoned bamboo roots. There are specialists who made the balls.

Manipuri saddles looks most clumsy, cumbersome, and too big for the small ponies. It has a big hump in from carved out of a solid block of wood. The back portion of the seat is also of carved wood. The whole saddle rests on two thin planks that rest on both sides of the back bone of the pony. On both sides hang huge uncured buffalo skins, both ends fore and aft curled up protecting the whole legs.

The sagon kangjei players wear his dhoti so that no part of it goes below the knee. He wears a small jerkin with short sleeves. On this head wears a big turban held by a chin strap (khadangchet). The turban completely protects his head. To protect his calf he wears a padded 'khongyom' held by straps. To protect his ankle since no footwear is worn, he wears 'khumit-khang'.

It is a piece of skin that covers the ankle completely and held by straps. The reins are cotton cord. One pair of rein is used which is attached to the bit. The bit is two iron pieces linked at the middle. On the index finger of his left hand he holds a lash made of thick leather pleated together. He uses it when he can spare his right hand to hold the reins.

In 1948 the Maharaja in Council created the Manipur State Polo Committee. During the Second World War, the hafta sagon kangjei had ceased and the ponies were returned to the state. These ponies were handed over to the Committee. The Committee arranged regular matches and tournaments. To raise funds and create a pool of good ponies it ran races.

The demand for Mapan kangjeibung (Polo ground) for other games became very great. Ex-Maharaja Bodh Chandra kindly gave use of the Manung Kangjeibung to the committee. After the death of the Maharaja, troubles regarding the possession of the ground became frequent and acute. The State Cabinet, probably from suggestion made by the Home Ministry, decided to take the ground for Y.I.P. meetings. One evening the office of the committee was set on fire.

The whole area is a subject matter before the courts. The Committee remains dormant. On the other hand late Maibam Iboton, one of players of hafta macha, good in many games and was with late maharaja Chura Chand to the end, organised a polo club. Srimati Sabita Mehta who was in Manipur learning Manipuri dancing donated a sum of money and in late in 1955, Shri P.C. Mathew I.C.S., the Chief Commissioner of Manipur as the Chief Guest inaugurated the Manipur Polo Club. The Club is organising games and tournaments and doing good work.

Let me mention about 'Arambai' darts that are thrown by Manipuri cavalry, since the technique of throwing is very similar to a player takes to hit a ball with his stick. Some Manipuri holds that the word' Arambai' comes from two meiteilon words, 'arap' (distant) and 'part' (to fly to great distance). The dart head is attached to the quill of the peacock. To give strength and grip, a thin bamboo silver with a cord loop tied to the exposed, i.e. the end away from iron dart, is loosely attached to the quill.

The thrower inserts his fingers through the loop, catch the stick and the end of the quill. As a kangjei players hits a ball, he takes a half of a quarter vertical swing and releases the quill. Once the dart is launched he throws the bamboo sliver and draws on another. (While a lasso or bolus thrower circles the lasso or the bolus to create a centrifugal force and releases them at tangent after gaining enough momentum on to the target, with arambai this is not possible.

While the circling on the horizontal plane can attain great momentum the arambai thrower is using a vertical circle which is never completed. The use of the polo stick gives him the strength of the stroke.) In sham or real retreat he throws the arambai from under the neck of his pony as he would strike a ball directed to his left and to the rear. He also makes use of the back hand stroke. The darts thrown from under the neck travel skyward and to the rear. The darts are thrown skyward so that the darts 'rains on the enemy' which the enemy's dislike.

What is the future of sagon kangjei in Manipur, is a nagging question. When a delegate of the Manipur State Polo Committee met Sri R.P. Bhargava I.C.S (1952-1955), in the matter of Mapan Kangjeibung, the matter of the future of sangon kangjei came up in the discussion. Maintaining a pony is becoming more and more expensive. Ihere are no open 'pats' or jheels. Every piece of land is put to the plough.

The use of herbicide had claimed number of ponies let loose. Thus the village folks who in Manipur took to playing sagon kangjei were finding difficulty in maintaining a pony, and finding an open place to play.

But as I mentioned above still sagon kangjei is being played in the southern villages amongst the Muslim and Meiteis. Another thing that was pointed was that more and more children are going to schools in the villages. In the schools, football and other games are played. Football, volley ball and such games are not expensive. They give exercise to more players than polo. Thus, the sagon kangjei becoming popular, the game for the villagers, is very bleak.

Concluded....


* P. B. Singh wrote this article which was published as part of 2nd Manipur Statehood Day women's Polo Tournament 2017.
This article was webcasted on February 13, 2017.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Politicians & youths Interface : Gallery
  • Of Gifts and Talents
  • Unmissable chance to vote for real change
  • Countdown to the National Science Day
  • Preview : Mohammedan Vs Neroca
  • PM Modi Public Meeting at Langjing
  • Restrictions on Vehicles plying on NH-37
  • Festival of Ritual Narrative: Gallery
  • Angkor Wat @Cambodia #4: Gallery
  • Clouded leopard - in danger of extinction
  • WHO affirmed adventists' diet
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • The Onset of Spring :: Poem
  • Quality not maintained- Leimaram Road
  • 1st randomisation of EVMs
  • Not conducive for polls now stand ..
  • This election matters
  • Protest: Framework Content :: Gallery
  • Free Education for Orphans:: Gallery
  • Consequence of violence on children
  • Generate job with greater public investment
  • Danger of pushing for election ....
  • Cosmic love affair
  • Orphans Free Education in Private Schools
  • NTC on Rajnath's statement
  • Najima braves fatwa, bias to contest
  • Don't use FA for electoral gains : CSOs
  • Danger in dirty game
  • Laishram Sarita Vs Zsofia Bedo #5 :: Gallery
  • Indian democracy on the verge?
  • Naga women must be empowered : ZSUD
  • Undertaking journey of self-discovery
  • Who is Kailash Satyarthi
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • International Mother Language Day
  • Condemns incident of rape in Hauz Khas
  • IndiGo takes off on Manipur mission
  • Sanjit father offered cash to drop case
  • No hidden agenda; stop playing games
  • Assuring piped water supply
  • Trade connection with Southeast Asia #1
  • Kidongam, Mangcha, Thangkholen :: eMing
  • Ballot Jam 2.0 #3: Gallery
  • Open letter to politicians #3
  • ...PM will have to answer the people
  • SVEEP campaign at TG Hr Secondary
  • 6th Major Bob Khathing Tournament kick-off
  • Tripura Web Media Forum launched
  • Pragjyoti Intl Dance Festival ends
  • Blockades choke Manipur's economy
  • Standing assurance from Rajnath: Politicize
  • Rajnath on Framework is sceptical
  • Travelling in Ukhrul Dist #1 :: Gallery
  • Shumang Leela Fest Award #2 :: Gallery
  • Satherjit Thiyam: Choreographer : Gallery
  • Much ado about Babu-dom
  • Puya Paba Tambagi Workshop begins
  • Poll theatrics in Manipur
  • Myanmar Meetei mou at temple
  • Sadar Hills District Demand :: Articles
  • 9th Pragjyoti Intl Dance Fest starts
  • Defeating administrative convenience
  • Biju Ningombam (Photos) #3 :: eRang
  • Framework agreeement protest:: Gallery
  • Ballot Jam 2.0 #2: Gallery
  • Tale of two voices- Inspired & the Unsung
  • Election & blockade & scare campaign
  • MU Seminar : NE India & South East Asia
  • Teaching the Teacher at NEHU, Shillong
  • Women Group formed in Ukhrul
  • Training on EVM/VVPAT for women
  • Laihui @Tanglei Music Festival :: Gallery
  • Pakhang No. 1- Lila Fest #2:: Gallery
  • Open letter to politicians #2
  • Aligarh Univ- place for Women Education
  • Political consciousness- self introspection
  • My torn shirt will cost millions 1 day
  • Sadar Hills Demand 2011-2017 : Timeline
  • Films by Ri-Mita Bolsabi with Phukan
  • Zeliangrong sentiment deeply hurt: ZB
  • 2017 not to be a repeat of 2012
  • Toying with the ultimate paradox
  • Ballot Jam 2.0 #1: Gallery
  • Laishram Sarita Vs Zsofia Bedo #4 :: Gallery
  • ESU, Wangkhei: Women League Winner
  • Women Reservation-Naga Customary Law
  • Last ray of hope
  • The Lamp Right up My Street :: Poem
  • Pragjyoti International Dance Festival
  • Foreigners defy visa rules in NE
  • Demand for ILP System :: News Timeline
  • Reopening the BT Road killing
  • Time to walk the talk
  • Landscape of Manipur #5: Wallpaper
  • U-17 football tournament: Gallery
  • Open letter to politicians #1
  • Ambassadors For Christ
  • Lonelier in love :: Poem
  • Political riddle - framework agreement
  • Playing with fire, a fear factor
  • ILP Demand from 2012 :: Photo Gallery
  • Khangkhui Cave @Ukhrul #2: Gallery
  • SSS MANIFA - Film Awards #4: Gallery
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni : Naga Seed Sowing Festival
  • Occupation of Schools by Security Forces
  • RISS: Innovative Park with Recycled Material
  • History, pathology, prophylaxis of rabies
  • Involve the States more in higher education
  • 14th Sentinel Cup, Equestrian concluded
  • War of words : Other important issues
  • The unheard Calls
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #1 : Ooba
  • AMUCO Foundation Day :: Gallery
  • For The Better Democracy
  • Call centre as career options
  • How to contest polls with Rs 3.1 lakh
  • Walk-in-interview at Mizoram University
  • Xenoh Corporate Football Challenge 2017
  • Powerful statement from RN Ravi
  • Using integrity issue as a tool in election..
  • Sagon Kangjei (Polo) #4
  • Northeast One (Robert Naorem) :: Gallery
  • 'Beating of the Retreat' #3 :: Gallery
  • Maharaj & Bizando poll chat, eavesdropped
  • River :: Poem
  • Indira Gandhi's one-minute function
  • United Naga Council Statement on Feb 12
  • Banning UNC not the answer: Half baked
  • Pakhang No. 1- Lila Fest #1:: Gallery
  • Pinky Jangra Vs Claudia :: Gallery
  • Bequeath good air to our next generation
  • Politics of economic blockade in Manipur
  • You're a mere Muslim woman!
  • Why humanity remember Gandhi
  • Blockade may impact Naga talk: Ravi
  • Trainers wanted at Ascend Studio
  • Why should only blockade be an issue ?
  • Singju Fest @Khangabok #3 :: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Keep Thy Heart With All Diligence
  • Women's reservation to correct traditional...
  • Satherjit Thiyam: Choreographer :: eRang
  • Sihai Lotae @Ukhrul : Gallery
  • Manipuri language & its literary traditions
  • Mina Uthum Onkhiba :: Funga Wari
  • Gita-Govinda- Drama Fest #1: Gallery
  • Blockade-Looking for solution @wrong place
  • View from tribal language perspective #2
  • A Myanmar Meetei leisabi in Yangon
  • Sadar Hills District Demand :: Articles
  • Khoupum Valley & Cave #4 : Gallery
  • NEROCA Vs SS, Kolkata:: Gallery
  • Singju Fest @Khangabok #2 :: Gallery
  • UNC's Leaders @Imphal Airport:: Gallery
  • Tanglei Cup - opening day :: Gallery
  • Snowfall at Dzukou Valley #2 : Gallery
  • Wareppa Naba :: Profile of Theatre Actor
  • First floating School at Loktak :: Gallery
  • SSS MANIFA - Film Awards #2: Gallery
  • Indigenous Medicinal & its importance
  • Peace Rally- Imphal to Jiri:: Gallery
  • 'Carrying lives in hand' :: Gallery
  • Kabuliwallah @Dance Drama Fest:: Gallery
  • Republic Day @Kangla #2 : Gallery
  • Interpreting the Princess & the Frog
  • Keibul Lamjao- Drama Fest #2: Gallery
  • Manipur: Champion @ National Thang-Ta
  • Final Match :Women's Polo #2 : Gallery
  • Gaan Ngai @Moirangkhom #2: Gallery
  • Yotsinkhidoure - ILP Special Song : Ooba
  • Khangkhui Cave @Ukhrul #1: Gallery
  • Kachai Lemon Festival : Gallery
  • Kakching Lamkhai :: 360 View Panorama
  • Trekking to Dzukou Valley #1: Gallery
  • Meiteilon Folk & Tangkhul duet : Ooba
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #3: Gallery
  • HSE examination Schedule 2017
  • HSLC examination Schedule 2017
  • Sanamanbi Sanarei :: eRang Classic
  • Summary Of Electoral Rolls Released
  • Priyanka Rajkumari #2 (Photos) :: eRang
  • Khunung Eeshei/ Ema Emoinu #3 : Radio
  • 60th CC Meet Semifinal #2 : Gallery
  • 60th CC Meet Semifinal #1 : Gallery
  • Imas from Nupi Lan: Gallery
  • SPONSORED ADS