In a unique move to bring the reclusive Baiga tribal to the mainstream, the Balaghat district administration has decided to organise a two-day Baiga Olympics, focusing on the traditional games and culture of the tribe.
The Baiga tribe, mainly found in Balaghat, Dindori, Anuppur, Shahdol and Umaria districts of Madhya Pradesh will be showcasing their traditional games and culture the Olympics being organised on April 4 and 5.
This is for the first time an event focusing on the traditional games of the tribe is being organised to instill confidence in them and to display sportsmanship and cultural heritage, said Balaghat district collector V Kiran Gopal.
“Tourists visiting Balaghat used to pity them for their poverty and living conditions. To inculcate confidence in them, we decided to organise an event completely dedicated to their traditions and culture. This will help in bringing competitive feeling in them,” he said.
“For their convenience, commentary during the event would also be carried out in Baigani dialect.”
Gopal said 750 tribals from seven districts of Madhya Pradesh, and two districts of Chhattisgarh are expected to participate 13 traditional games popular among Baiga tribe including, tilli, gobaranda, leepa poti, bajni khel (wrestling of the Baigas) and tug of war will be the main attractions of the two-day games.
The Baigas are found in Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh. The largest concentration of the Baigas is are found in Mandla and Balaghat districts of Madhya Pradesh.
The district collector said workshops to train Baiga artists to boost their art would be organised during this two-day event.
The annual event would be a major attraction for the large numbers of tourists, who visit the Kanha National Park, Gopal said.
To link the Baiga with tribal customs, the administration is organising a cultural night with performances by folk dances from Gujarat and Rajasthan.