Watch | Manipur's formidable women's polo team

A video based on the Indian women who take reins in modern polo's birthplace

In the 1850s a group of soldiers of the East India Company saw some exiled Manipuri princes play a game that looked like hockey on horseback.

The game was Sagol Kangjei, from which originated modern-day polo. Polo is now played widely across Britain, Australia, Argentina and the U.S., among 70-odd countries.

In Manipur the game is deeply entrenched in culture, religion and in the everyday lives of people. It has its own horse-deity, shrine and ceremonies and is still played during Lai Haraoba, a Meitei festival.

Also read: Polo to the people: the journey of the game beyond royals and the Army

But there has been a quiet revolution in Manipuri polo. Today, Manipur has about two dozen women professional polo players representing two-thirds of all women polo players in India.

It was the efforts of the All Manipur Polo Association that got women into the sport in the 1980s. In 1992, women participated in a match held in Manipur. In 2016,  Huntré! Equine, a social enterprise, brought international attention to Manipur’s women players. And the first Manipur Statehood Day Women’s Polo Tournament was held in Imphal.

Also read: Two millennia after the first Manipuri polo match, a women’s team is ushering in a quiet revolution

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 3:09:50 AM |

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