A sports tournament of a different kind has been organised in Odisha’s Berhampur to promote traditional rural games for girls.
Due to urbanisation, these rural community games have been losing their sheen. So the Madhumaya Panigrahy Foundation (MPF) has organised this tournament in Berhampur, where around 400 girls are competing in six different events.
According to Hrushikesh Panigrahy of the MPF, their aim is to select around 20 girls. The selected girls would be trained to perform a dance ballet related to the ‘Kumar Purnima’ festival of the State.
The steps and movements of rural games would be made an integral part of the dance ballet.
The first ballet performance would be held in Berhampur during the ‘Kumar Punei Janha Lo’ cultural programme of the foundation on the day of ‘Kumar Purnima’ on October 5.
The troupe will also perform in different parts of the State and outside to popularise the dying rural games, said Mr. Panigrahy.
The girls took part in six traditional rural games. They were Thia Puchi, Basa Puchi, Hulahuli, Khapara Dian, Kaudi Khela and Sankhanada or blowing of conch shells.
According to Prafulla Jagannath Padhy, a veteran sportsman and chief organiser of the tournament, most of the rural games were aimed at enhancing the strength and stamina of women folk who were earlier confined to the interior of their homes.
Both types of Puchi are linked to the Kumar Purnima festivities in rural areas where girls used to play it under the full-moon-lit sky. Thia Puchi is performed in a standing position and Basa Puchi is played in a squatting position.
They strengthen the whole body, especially thighs and feet. Khapara Dian is a team sport where participants have to perform various tasks while jumping on one leg on a special court.
Kaudi Khela is a traditional board game of rural Odisha and Hulahuli is a typical sound made by vibrating the tongue during every auspicious happening in any Odia household. “Our aim was to keep alive these rich traditions of Odisha among the new generation girls,” said Mr. Padhi.
Brij Bhusan Mohanty, veteran boxing coach and first Dronacharya award winner of Odisha, was the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony of the tournament on Sunday.