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Polo-gambling Manipuri women shatter obstacles, leading a quiet revolution


Polo-gambling Manipuri women shatter obstacles, leading a quiet revolution


Imphal (IANS): Polo, regularly notion as a recreation of the wealthy, has also been normally ruled by men. However, a quiet revolution is taking place where it all started – the northeast Indian kingdom of Manipur, which is considered the current polo’s birthplace. While guys had been playing this recreation here for centuries, the spotlight has shifted to girls of the country who now discipline five professional polo teams to compete with the arena’s quality. These Manipuri girls from humble backgrounds aren’t the handiest shattering stereotypes that polo is a sport for guys. However, it’s also for the privilege of the rich.


L. Some Roy, conservationist and associate at Hunter! Equine has been one of the predominant crusaders for ladies’ polo in the kingdom and sees it as a marketing campaign to store the iconic Manipuri pony, whose numbers have declined over the years. He says while Manipuri women historically no longer played polo as it became an equestrian recreation coming out of a martial way of life, nowadays, inside the Eighties, they were stimulated by their male family.

The All Manipur Polo Association advocated for them. About forty-forty-five in line with a cent of polo gamers inside the international are women. So we’re just catching up. It’s quite gendered loose as recreation, so it places them on the level of guys once they play collectively,” Roy tells IANS. At the same time, Manipur produces one-third of male players and 3-fourths of female gamers. S . Roy says most of these players from an isolated, economically underdeveloped kingdom areare not the Indian Polo Association participants.

Yet, the nation has India’s longest polo season — November to March — with international and four kingdom tournaments, along with the Manipur Statehood Day Women’s Polo Tournament, the only such event in India wherein groups from the United States, UK, Canada, Kenya, Australia, and Argentina have participated alongside Manipuri women.

The matches are held in Imphal’s Mapal Kangjeibung Stadium, the oldest for-walks polo ground in the world. Filmmaker Roopa Barua, who began documenting the story of women’s polo in Manipur in 2016, says a younger polo sisterhood is growing inside the state that plows on regardless of adversity and political turmoil.
“Around 2014-15, there was an effort to bring women gamers worldwide to play in Manipur.

Part of this attempt turned into creating a marketing campaign to save the endangered Manipuri pony.
I saw a symbiotic relationship developing, and I followed this tale for four years,” she tells IANS. This documentation culminated in a film intended to take the tale of those strong female players to the arena. The documentary film “Daughters of the Polo God” was showcased earlier this month at the IAWRT Asian Women’s Film Festival in New Delhi and will also be screened at the Bombay Stock Exchange on March 26.

Manipuri gamers are herbal horsewomen and extraordinarily athletic. As I stayed on at some point during the event, I noticed that ladies’ polo became a developing tale. The symbiotic courting between women’s polo and the endangered Manipuri pony was a particular idea,” Barua stated. Nineteen-12 months-vintage Tanna Thoudam, one of the film’s protagonists, was stimulated to play polo when she noticed a few women gamers gambling in a match in 2010. Their enthusiasm lit a choice in me to play polo. I’ve felt close to horses because my uncle added them domestically. But before that, horses roamed approximately everywhere. My circle of relatives became not thoroughly off, and my uncle couldn’t afdto shop for a horse,” she says.

Tanna joined the Assam Rifles Polo Club in 2011 and became the handiest junior to the last Manipuri team for the 2017 Statehood Day Women’s Polo Tournament. “It turned into the happiest second of my life.”
Thou Thoudum, the Chingkhei Hunba Polo Club founder, says it is ideal to have a girls’ tournament because it encourages women to begin gambling polo while also showing solidarity and admiration for ladies gamers.
Jetholia Thongbam started playing polo in 2016 and continued even after her sister stopped playing after her marriage. She believes Manipuri players have become higher every 12 months by playing with worldwide gamers.

Playing with the Athe American Polo Association (USPA) became incredibly enjoyable, though their capabilities are exclusive from ours; we could analyze lots,” she says. N. Ibungochoubi, Secretary of the Manipur Polo Society, says the connection between Manipuris and horses is special. For hundreds of years here, people have owned horses; they may be educated, but they are broken. Then, they’re set free to graze inside the open wetlands of Manipur. The Manipuri ponies have lost their domestic to city blight, with their numbers declining from 1,893 in 2003 to around 500 in 2014.

This is where this symbiotic dating between human beings and horses can probably be a sport-changer. Here is one (polo) community whose welfare is so intently tied with the animal’s welfare on which the game is played. We felt that because India did not have any girls’ polo match, Manipur could be, and must be, the house of ladies’ polo in India,” Some Roy says. He adds that playing polo in Manipur is like going to Mecca. For those who realize the polo records, Manipur is a special place – where it all came from. And then we say it’ll be played at the authentic Manipuri pony, after which we tell them it’s far on the arena’s oldest living polo floor. It’s a reasonably irresistible invitation,” Roy adds.

Erika Norman

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