Breaking News

Army’s Quest to Encourage Rich Cultural Heritage of Manipur

IMPHAL:Manipur has a rich sporting heritage and the origins of SagolKangjei form part of this antiquity. SagolKangjei is a form of Polo in the traditional sports of Manipur. Modern Polo is believed to have evolved from SagolKangjei. The British learned the game in 19th century from Manipur and after refinement it was transplanted to other countries as the modern form of Polo. 

SagolKangjei (Polo) was played regularly at MapalKangjeibung (Polo ground) in Imphal. Polo is generally associated elsewhere with the royalty. However, in Manipur it is equally enjoyed by the common man and played with a lot of enthusiasm and zeal. Polo players and the enthusiasts for the game established ‘The All Manipur Polo Club’ at Imphal in 1955 to stimulate polo in Manipur and made all out efforts to retain MapalKangjeibung for Polo with other games like football and hockey. 

The Club began to organize regular tournaments not only in traditional SagolKangjei but also in modern polo. The Club changed its name to All Manipur Polo Association in 1986 and was duly registered as a society on 10 May 1957. It also got affiliated to the Indian Polo Association on 18 January 1958. Since then the association is striving to promote this traditional sport of the state. The first polo tournament was organized in December 1959 and the Manipur Polo team participated for the first time in a National polo tournament (BARIA CUP) in New Delhi in 1960. The Indian Army has taken over the development and support of the game of Polo after Independence and ensured the survival of the game in our country even in very difficult times.

The Red Shield Division is integrated with the Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association since the year 2010 when the 57 Mountain Division Cup was instituted. Since then the Division has been at the forefront of promoting polo in Manipur. This tournament is a testimony of its commitment to support indigenous sports in the state of Manipur. Its endeavour is not only to encourage this ancient traditional sport in co-operation with Manipur Horse Riding & Polo Association, but also in preservation of the famous Manipuri Pony. The Manipur pony as part of the Manipur history forms an integral part of SagolKangjei. The sword marks on the door of Kaunghmudaw Pagoda of Burma, left during the famous sacking of Sagaing by King Gharibniwaz of Manipur in 1738 was a tribute to the speed and power of Manipur Pony. It was a backbone of the Manipur Cavalry. It is recorded as the only living original Polo Pony of the world. The physical endurance of the Manipuri pony is overwhelming and time tested. Its uniqueness is preserved with the sport gaining global popularity and success.

The promotion of traditional and cultural activities in Manipur is towards the Army’s quest in achieving lasting peace, harmony & progress in the state. The Polo Tournament has also helped in identifying the young and forthcoming talent that can represent the state as well as the nation in the sport. The increasing participation of the teams and the packed gallery of the spectators display the love and respect of the state for the traditional game. The Red Shield Division continues to support the Manipur Polo as a mark of respect towards the people of Manipur who treasure this traditional sport very dearly. With the reduction of influence of the insurgent groups in Manipur, the youth of Manipur are gradually migrating towards such positive and promising cultural activities which are gaining more popularity at the national and international level. The finals of the tournament are scheduled on Sunday, 07 Feb afternoon at Manipur Polo Ground and the closing ceremony will include a sky diving show by Army Special Forces, a motorcycle daredevil display as well as a para motor show. A tent pegging show by junior riders is also scheduled during this ceremony. 

No comments