TODAY -

Horses - some tidbits

S Balakrishnan *



Why should I write about Horses? Have I lost my horse sense? Neither have I owned a horse, nor a pony, nor even a donkey! But knowingly or unknowingly, horses have touched my life since childhood. In India, since time immemorial, horses have had a great impact on our social and religious life.

The odd toed ungulate (hoofed mammal) horse is believed to have its evolutionary origin in the Indian Subcontinent. According to historians, the horse did not have a big role in Harappan civilization but it played an important role in the following Vedic age (1500-500 BCE). The Sanskrit word 'Ashva' finds mention in Vedas and Hindu scriptures.

The Sun God is said to traverse on a chariot drawn by seven horses which number could represent the seven days of the week. In our great epics Ramayanam and Mahabharatham there are references to horse. In Ramayan, the horse sent out on Ashvamedha yagna by Lord Ram is challenged by His twin sons Lav-Kush; in Mahabharath, Lord Krishna is the charioteer (sarathy) for Partha (Arjuna), hence called Parthasarathy.

The cavalry division was one of the four divisions of the army from the times of the epics. With the advent of canons and battle tanks, not only the cavalry but also the elephant and chariot divisions lost their relevance; these days the ICBMs (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles) rule the war theatre.

If we want solid proof, our National Emblem, the Lion Capital of Emperor Ashoka (304-232 BCE), who had embraced Buddhism, has a horse at its base. The Khandagiri Caves near Bhubaneswar (1st century BCE), where Jain monks lived, has sculptures of horses, even flying horses!

In the Greek epic, Trojan Horse played a major role in the victory of Greeks against the Trojans; it was a huge hollow wooden horse concealing Greek warriors to stealthily gain entry into Troy. So much so that 'Trojan horse' has come to mean subversion introduced from outside. Now, in the computer era, it refers to stealthy malware in computers! Equally dangerous is the Chess horse piece.

It is a cheeky coin that gallops in 'L' fashion and could simultaneously pose danger to as many as eight pieces of the opponent. So I try to eliminate my opponent's both the horses, even sacrificing my own horses.

The aam aadmi's humble Tonga (horse carriage) vanished with the advent of cycle rickshaws and then the auto-rickshaws, but Kolkata still has the hand-pulled rickshaws despite the Communists ruling for seven consecutive terms (1977-2011)! Now, horses play only a ceremonial role in Rashtrapati Bhavan events, weddings, temple functions, etc.

At this point I remember the three horses that are brought in at the time of the Pang Lhabsol ceremony in Sikkim. In most of the temple functions in Tamil Nadu, the deity rides on a horse mount besides other mounts. During my wedding eve, my father-in-law did not arrange a horse for the 'baarath' perhaps fearing that I would gallop away before the wedding. Instead, I was seated in a car that was stuffed with eager kids all around so that I would not escape.

In Tamil language, horse is commonly called 'kuthirai', though it has other literary names such as pari, puravi, etc. In Malayalam also it is called kuthira (In Thiruvananthapuram there is a palace called Kuthira Maalika because of the more than 100 wooden wall brackets carved like horses). In Karnataka there is Kudremukh hill (horse-faced hill). In Telugu, however, it is gurram.

Speaking of horses, one can't miss the twin horse statue in Konark Sun Temple of Odisha. It is such a masterpiece that a stamp was issued on 15th Aug. 1949 itself. This is the State Emblem of Odisha Government.

While one of these horses is in fairly good condition the other is much damaged. A beautiful small stone replica of this horse is in my collection besides horses in different materials and in different poses, but about them separately.

While people were much attracted by the galloping horse paintings of MF Hussain, he himself felt otherwise. It was surprisingly shocking and shockingly surprising to see a pair of horses tilling the land in Majuli Island of Assam.

As a little boy I had valiantly rode the wooden rocking horse imagining myself to be a mighty king with a sword (stick). Much later it was a real horse on the sands of Marina Beach in Chennai and a pony ride along the lake in the hill station of Kodaikanal; my bums pained for the whole day after that and could not help empathising & sympathising with the horse soldiers. The job of jockeys must be a painful one, I realised.

But my desire to watch a horse race that is held in Chennai & Ooty (Nilgiri mountains) still remains a dream. The Guindy horse race course in Chennai, a British legacy, is the oldest since 1777! Banning the horse race in 1974, the DMK government pompously erected a twin statue of a man reining the horse but the court ruled it otherwise and horse race resumed after four years. The statues remain a humbug showpiece, a dummy, like the dummy horse folk dance of Tamil Nadu.

Of all the horse-related proverbs, the one about 'closing the stable after the horse has bolted' is indeed famous. In Tamil also there are a few Not only did the horse pull down the rider but also dug a pit to push him inside; Like riding on a mud horse into the river; As if a horse got horns! This could as well remind Unicorn.

The most important role of horses is yet to come. It is said that the tenth avatar of Lord Maha Vishnu, Lord Kalki, would appear riding a horse!

Now, let me reveal a secret Some time back I read that Dec. 21 was International Horses Day. When I rechecked now, I could not confirm it. However, Dec. 13 is observed as National Horse Day in the USA. So let us salute the galloping horse for its contribution to humankind in various fields.


* S Balakrishnan wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be reached at krishnanbala2004(AT)yahoo(DOT)co(DOT)in
This article was webcasted on December 26 2021.



* 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
  • Phuba Thapham, Senapati #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 25 May : Govt of Manipur
  • War on Drugs and Alcohol (Ju)
  • CubeTen: Awarded at British Parliament
  • Advancements in TB science in spotlight
  • Why should people join politics ?
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Fisheries development in NE Region #2
  • Poor roadways denting prospect of tourism
  • From district level to State level
  • Ibudhou Thangjing Lam Thokpa #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 24 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Shirui Lily Festival 2022: Program Detail
  • The fruition of mass communication
  • Grow drumstick for good health
  • Political Stand of Naga People's Front
  • Medicinal Plants for Rural Livelihood in NE
  • Thangjing pact: Test ahead for signatories
  • From 2013 to charge hearing in 2022
  • Kwatha (Indo-Myanmar border) #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 23 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • NDPP's biggest challenge & opportunity
  • Languages soul of India & Hindi up to Ten
  • How Market Innovations made America great
  • Kahulong Primary School renovated
  • Conservation of wildlife need of the hour
  • Disturbing street brawl: Reflecting society
  • Licypriya speech at East Timor :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 22 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Licypriya delivers Speech at East Timor
  • Tobacco epidemic continues...
  • Dry Manipur still Wet and 'High'
  • Insects as feed for aquaculture
  • Inflation worries real but a passing phase
  • Dealing with suspected forest encroachers
  • Morphine to heroin to WY
  • English phonetic sounds :: Book download
  • COVID-19 Status 21 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Rs 2,80,000 assistance to 6 Journalists
  • Manipur Roads: A rainy season Nightmare
  • Workshop on "Research Ethics" at MU
  • Tacitly tacit
  • Gleanings from Buddhism
  • Thaopai Shithaine @ Phuba #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 20 May : Govt of Manipur
  • North-East Research (NER) Conclave
  • Fisheries development in NE Region #1
  • North East LSN Partners Meet 2022
  • Cold facial during Summer
  • Check gate closure: Boon or bane for driver
  • Covid free after 26 months: A brief look back
  • Wakhom Leikai Lairembi Haraoba #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 19 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Shija celebrates 26 years of surgery
  • International Webinar: Computing Trend in AI
  • New MAHUD for a new Imphal City
  • R&D initiatives of Ministry of Info Tech
  • PMFBY - Every cloud has a silver lining
  • Banking on Modi to eradicate plastic malaise
  • One step down from Greater Lim ?
  • Flood Watch: Nambul Turel [18 May] :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 18 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Ambassadors for Christ
  • "... where women are not respected"
  • Nursing as a career choice
  • Conquest of the last frontier
  • Dry Manipur among top 5 liquor states!
  • Scoring high on liquor consumption
  • Flood Watch: Imphal Turel [17 May] :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 17 May : Govt of Manipur
  • World hypertension day : 17th May 2022
  • Taking advantage of dying sedition law
  • Market innovations & vertical integration
  • Soram Oscar: Mr India Intl Tourism 2022
  • Cyber Security Lecture at Tamenglong
  • Involve village chief in Save Singda Movement
  • Reaching out to SC Jamir
  • Jalakeli Offering @ Govindajiu :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 16 May : Govt of Manipur
  • On 200th Anniversary of MK Binodini Devi
  • East Timor : Licypriya Kangujam invited
  • Carbon Sequestration in Dailong Site #2
  • Semiotic interpretations of traffic policing
  • Citrus Marcoptera: Rare Citrus species in NE
  • Same old healthcare issues for new minister
  • Rain : Bringing out the dirt of Imphalites
  • Art Exhibition @Imphal Art #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 15 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2022 #2: Gallery
  • Soil rejuvenation through plants
  • Harrowing memories of a blast victim
  • Pristine Death :: Poem
  • Odisha File
  • Anti-poppy vows: Govt shouldnt be taken...
  • After more than 2 decades of talks
  • River & River Based Communities
  • COVID-19 Status 14 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Second National Lok Adalat
  • Manipur Cabinet: Blurry representation
  • Tips for summer party make up
  • Harvesting Fest of Tarao #4 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 13 May : Govt of Manipur
  • The USP of Churachandpur
  • Pranks unloaded: From fiction to mundanity
  • Radio comes to our rescue in pandemic
  • 3rd North-East Foodtech begins
  • Irreparable damage done to environment
  • Promotion of nurseries for plantation crop #2
  • Issues staring at the face of Manipur
  • Yaoshang Thabal Competition #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 12 May : Govt of Manipur
  • International Nurses Day 2022
  • Carbon Sequestration in Dailong Site #1
  • Various voices on reduced areas of AFSPA
  • IBSD, Imphal signed MoU with CSIR
  • Stay on sedition case smack on political elite
  • Identifying a district with one group ?
  • Kakwa Lairembi Haraoba #1 :: Gallery
  • Understanding Environmental Problem
  • Pre Recruitment Training at Keithelmanbi
  • Three rain catchers feted
  • How India is empowering women...
  • War-era bridges amid development rhetoric
  • Aerial route over heart of Imphal ?
  • SN Chand: The father of Manipuri cinema #1
  • COVID-19 Status 10 May : Govt of Manipur
  • NPF Kohima consultative meeting
  • Market creating innovation & business model
  • The element of surprise
  • 3rd North-East Foodtech at Guwahati
  • Growing support to 'war on drugs' mission
  • Backing the War on Drugs call
  • Mao-Imphal Market @ Kabo Leikai :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 09 May : Govt of Manipur
  • We live in the best of times to preach
  • Mixed Marriages & our Heritage !
  • Review Meeting on National Lok Adalat
  • Road blocking for everything
  • Promotion of nurseries for fruits & crop
  • Cong vigil essential to expose Govt
  • Thangjing Hill : Mischievous restrictions
  • Student appearing HSLC Exam #3 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 08 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Workshop with Vice-Chancellors of NE
  • BJP's major challenge in Nagaland - Church
  • Motherhood : A symbol of Love
  • Song of spring :: Poem
  • Mother's Day at Tamenglong
  • Stringent only means to deter poppy grower
  • Congress : Uncharacteristically quiet
  • 4th Documentor Imphal [7 May] :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 07 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Being a scapegoat for ages in this disaster
  • Entrepreneurs invest 8 lakhs to documentary
  • 12th Mahousa Ima Ningsing Tha
  • Float Festival of Tamil Nadu Temples
  • Yaoshang Thabal Competition #1 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 06 May : Govt of Manipur
  • On custodial death of Arambam Nanao
  • Placating Sharmila : The Iron Lady
  • Service Engineer @Info Trade, Imphal
  • Integrated farming- 2x farmers' income #3
  • Tree Plantation Programme at Kangla
  • Greed blinding rogue police elements
  • War on Drugs : Give it more teeth
  • Artisan Lourembam Bino Devi :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 05 May : Govt of Manipur
  • The Truth Alone Must Triumph
  • ICU bed facility launched in Tamenglong
  • World Hand Hygiene Day 2022
  • Workshop on Climate Change at Lilong
  • Water education for food security
  • Torpid tourism sector
  • Separate flag & constitution
  • Id-ul-Fitr @Hatta Golapati :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 04 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Lavish event management gone wrong
  • World Veterinary Day 2022
  • Condemnation on the killing of Nanao
  • Summer skin care tips for a natural glow
  • Centre's push for NSU commendable
  • Powerless power
  • Ole Wangkheimayum : Making a difference
  • COVID-19 Status 03 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Last surviving Naga regionalist- Shurhozelie
  • DoNER Minister visited NSU, Khuman Lampak
  • Market creating innovations & economic
  • Kuzholuzo takes charges as NPF Leader
  • Swachhata Pakhwada at IBSD Imphal
  • Jiribam Keithel #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 02 May : Govt of Manipur
  • Cheilaoba : A short story
  • A tribute to Asok Potsangbam
  • Id-ul-fitr :: From a book
  • Building India to be the world's master
  • Rapists don't deserve mercy
  • Taking the case to a higher Court
  • Cheirao-chingkaba #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 01 May : Govt of Manipur
  • May Calendar for Year 2022 : Tools
  • Nirupa Sanjenbam, Woman Achiever NE Fest
  • Student Centre for Excellence at Bishnupur
  • MPSC : Re-recruitment of MCS/MPS officers
  • Integrated farming- 2x farmers' income #2
  • Alangtakhou waterfall @Tml #1 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 30 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • Blood Donation camp @Keisampat : Gallery
  • Appeal in High Court against Zou acquittal
  • Jubilee Celebration of Manipuri Cinema
  • Labour Day (May Day) -Chennai Connection
  • 24th - 30th April is World Immunization Week
  • Yaoshang Thabal @Mongshangei #4 : Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 29 Apr : Govt of Manipur
  • Foundation Day celebrated at IBSD Imphal
  • Alone but not lonely :: Poem
  • Gender balanced workforce
  • Govt North East plan: Repealing AFSPA
  • AFSPA repeal vow galore as NE enjoys peace
  • Promise of AFSPA free NE
  • The hike to the summit of Koubru
  • Lunghar in Ukhrul district #2 :: Gallery
  • Student appearing HSLC Exam #2 :: Gallery
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #3 :: Gallery
  • Tributes on Khongjom Day :: Gallery
  • Tongjei Maril (Old Cachar Road) :: Gallery
  • Painting Competition on 'Tribal' #2 :: Gallery
  • Floral tributes @ Cheiraoching #2 :: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sports @Bamon Leikai :: Gallery
  • Rules of English Pronunciation : Download
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa [Apr 14] :: Gallery
  • Shajibu Cheiraoba @Pune :: Gallery
  • Yaoshang @Bengaluru #2 :: Gallery
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Shopping :: Gallery
  • Sub-Syllables in English : Book Download
  • Learn English pronunciation: Book Download
  • Learning calculating skills : Download Book