Keeping tradition alive

?HINGOT YUDDH?, a primitive game played between warring parties from two villages with hand held rockets leaving behind a trail like burning comets in the air captured the imagination and attention alike of people in this modern age on Sunday, as it must have done then.

india Updated: Oct 23, 2006 15:03 IST

‘HINGOT YUDDH’, a primitive game played between warring parties from two villages with hand held rockets leaving behind a trail like burning comets in the air captured the imagination and attention alike of people in this modern age on Sunday, as it must have done then.

The game played only once a year (second day after Diwali) was played at its traditional venue Gautampura village in Deplapur tehsil.

The game played on ‘Govardhan Padwa’ during the festive occasion of Deepawli as an imitation of some ancient battle enjoys great popularity in the region. The game though primitive in its character and dangerous in nature has a uniqueness about it and the people participate in it with great fervour. People from far and wide attend the spectacle.

The ‘Hingot Yuddha’ is a match played between two parties belonging to villages Runji and Gautmapura in an open area across the Gautampura-Barnagar Road. The team from the former location is called ‘Turra’ and the latter is called ‘Kalangi’.

The game is played using ‘Hingot’, which is shell of a fruit obtained from the ‘Hingoriya’ tree. The villagers start gathering the fruits after Dusshera and go as far as Ratlam in search of the trees and its fruit.

The fruit shell is stuffed with locally brewed powder, which though inflammable causes least damage and does not explode in a manner causing grievous injury. The shell is then tied to a stick in order to give direction to the projectile and is released after lighting the wick going up to the cavity storing the powder. Each warrior uses upto 200 ‘hingots’ during the game.

The game is special in many ways for one it has no restriction to maximum number of participation, while the lower limit is fixed at 15. Furthermore, any outsider can join the game from any side.

The ‘hingots’ are readily available around the war zone and sell as cheap as Rs two a piece. The traditional fighters carry a shield made from iron for their protection and some enthusiastic youngsters from the city were spotted trying their hand, while covering their heads with helmet.

The game begins at around six pm with the participants praying to the local deity Devnarayan at a temple located nearby. The locals believe that praying to the deity saves them from serious injury though past records show otherwise. A local and Nagar Congress president Prakash Jain said that two persons lost their life only last year and the casualty list though not long does exist. Compounded to the deaths are the more numerous cases of injury with nearly 300 people having lost their eyesight so far.

Additional Superintendent Police (ASP) Manish Kapooriya said that the game is played traditionally and these sentiments have to be respected. All efforts are made to tone down the lethality of the game and an appeal is made to all participants not to drink before the game.

However, sources have it that all participates engage in some or the other sort of inebriation in order to withstand the near war like environment with rockets zooming past on all sides and to withstand the pain on injury. Those watching the match from the ringside also get injured every year.

Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) GS Dodiya said that the administration takes all precautions and fire tenders a team of two doctors, seven paramedical officers, ambulances are kept ready on the spot. The hospital burn centre is specially equipped with necessary equipments. A large police presence ensures that the mob does not take any step n excitement.

As like the game the venue-Gautampura is also an ancient land. The place was once the ‘taposthali’ of the renowned Gautam ‘rishi’ who was blessed by the gods with water from the holy river Kshipra for conducting his prayers and bath. The place has a water source, which the locals believe spouts water from ‘Mokshdayni’ Kshipra.

First Published: Oct 23, 2006 15:03 IST