Amid festival fervour, Indore district in Madhya Pradesh is gearing up to host the age-old traditional 'Hingot' fight, a day after Diwali. The warriors — 'Turra' of Gautampura and 'Kalangi' of Runji village — will attack each other on October 24 with burning hingots, a hollow fruit stuffed with gun powder that resembles a shooting star.
'Hingot' is an amla-like fruit with a hard outer shell and hollow inside, grown on Hingoriya tree. The residents collect the hingots and after taking out its pulp, fill it with gun powder.
The fruit stuffed with explosive mixture is launched after igniting the fuse made on its end. A bamboo strip is fitted at its back for better handling and aiming just like an arrow.
"Elaborate arrangements have been made for organising the 'Hingot' fight in Gautampura town, situated about 55km from Indore, where a gallery has been made to accommodate about 1,500 spectators. Iron fencing has been made around the gallery for the protection of the audience," Gautampura Nagar Parishad president Vishal Rathi said.
Fire brigade personnel and a team of doctors would also be present near the 'battlefield', he said. Notably, in the past years, several people had been injured while participating in this centuries-old fight.
Rathi said as per the tradition, the residents of Gautampura and Runji villages will gather after sunset on October 24 and pray at a temple following which the hingot fight will commence. There is no historical document available to throw light on when and how this tradition began.
However, as per Rathi, there are fables popular from ancient times that the local fighters maintaining vigil over the border of Gautampura would hurl hingots at the Mughal Army warriors in order to protect their area.
"According to ancestors, the Hingot war started as a practice (for protection against enemies), but with changing times, some religious beliefs got associated with it," he said.
Owing to these beliefs, the police and administration do not stop this tradition, but rather make elaborate security arrangements and provide facilities for the treatment of those injured in the fight, Rathi added.