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Tripura, the land of History and Legends


Like many other ethnic groups of the world,  the Tripuri children and youths have their traditional games and sports. But it deserves mention here that the traditional sports of the Tripuris are almost in common with other Tripuri speaking tribes of Tripura. Now-a-days though the Tripuri children have adopted the other castes' games and sports they, till in this last part of the twentieth century, play their traditional sports and games at least once in a blue moon. Out of many traditional sports and games of the Tripuri community, some are detailed here. The Tripuris call the games as 'Thwngma'.

1) Mufuk Saganang:
This game is played to test the strength of a young man. A child clings to the chest of a man whose waist is tied with one end of a rope. Another man, holding the other end of the rope firmly stands at his back. As the game begins, the man with the child on his chest forces to move forward while the player who stands at the back tries to draw back his opponent by pulling the rope. The one who succeeds in his efforts wins the game.

2) Ramtan Lairo:
Two posts of bamboo are placed on the ground. On these two bamboos two udukhals (a large wooden mortar used for husking grains) are kept. Two individuals sit on either sides facing each other and join the two udukhals at a time. An individual passes through the udukhals before they are joined by the two persons sitting on either side. This tries the ability of an individual.

3) Wabao Fan Salaio:
This is a pole wrestling played by two individuals. A bamboo pole is taken to play this game. The players stand at a specific distance from each other. A mark is put in their middle. The two ends of the bamboo pole are then placed under their right armpit and each grasps it firmly by 1)0th hands. Now-both the players try to cross over the marking between them by pushing back each other.

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4) Musta Seglaio:
This game is played between two individuals to test their strength of wrist. A stake of the diameter of a grip is fixed on the ground keeping the length above the ground just to provide two grips of the two hands of the contenders. Each contender grips the stake firmly by his right hand and while one tries to pull out the stake, the other presses it down to keep the status quo of the stake. The one who succeeds in his efforts wins the trial.

5) Wasago:
A long bamboo is placed on the ground horizontally. Apart from the bamboo seven pieces of bamboo slits are taken. A person takes up the bamboo slits in his hand and jumps around the bamboo and drop the slits after a jump, Likewise, he has to pick up the slits going on jumping around the bamboo. But it needs to be mentioned here that this game is not popular and not common among all the Tripuris.

6) Longoi Chokmani:
The swinging game is played by the Tripuri children. Two long ropes are hung from a strong branch of a tree and a short bamboo on a wooden log is tied with the two ends of the ropes to make a seat. Two children sit on the wood holding the ropes by their hands and push forward with a stroke of the leg to swing front and back. Sometimes one friend helps the swing by pushing it forward.

7) Kaldang:
This is a pleasure game of the Tripuri children. Two muli bamboos are taken and in their lower parts about 2 ft. above the ground two small pieces of bamboo are tied tightly to place the feet on them. 'Then the children climb on the knots holding the bamboo with their hands and walk or run fast the road.

8) Cooking game:
Like the children of other castes the Tripuri children are also fond of cooking game. By collecting different leaves, roots, mud, sand, water etc. they pretend to prepare different curry and rice with water. Bamboo slits, little pieces of tree roots etc. they use as fire wood. When the pretended preparation is over, they pretend to serve it among others or to eat it by themselves.

9) Achugoi phan Solaimani:
It is a type of wrestling. It is played by the two young men to test their strength. The two young men sit on the ground facing each other and spread their legs. A thin bamboo or a piece of tree is placed between them for staking their legs. The two contenders hold horizontally a piece of bamboo, two and a half cubits in length approximately which remain high above the ground between them. When the pulling is begun, each contender tries to pull it towards his own side. He who is able to pull the bamboo piece on his side wins the game.

10) Solaimani:
According to Tripuris 'Solaimani' means wrestling. This free hand wrestling, which is common to all other community, also exists among the Tripuris. The object of this wrestling is to subdue or turndown the opponent by grasping each others chest with their hands.

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11) Buinanlkatar:
This game is also prevalent among the Tripuri children as among the children of other castes. It is nothing but hide and seek game of toddler children. They call it Bumanikatar. Children play this game collectively. The children hide in different places according to their scope and one among the player remains as seeker, who tries find out the hider one. Another remains as referee to control the game. The referee covers the eyes of the seeker with his hands for a while, by which time the players manage to hide themselves. After the referee sets the seeker free he starts searching too find out the hider ones. The hider who is traced out first by the seeker turns to be seeker himself next. As a result, the game is started afresh. By rotation each and everyone is likely to become a seeker.

12) Dukhwi Sotonma:
Among the Tripuris both the children and youths are habituated to this game. According to them 'Dukhwi Sotonma' means tug of war. It is played with pleasure for trial of strength. In nn open field or in the courtyard they lay this game. The boys divide themselves into two groups. A long rope is taken and each party stands in a line one after another by holding the rope firmly at their respective side. The group which can pull their opponent towards them across a particular mark lying between the parties wins the game.

13) Nailya Wasa:
Nailya wasa means a toy gun. It is made by a little thin green bamboo. A green thin bamboo consisting of a narrow hollow is required to make this toy gun. The length of the gun is hardly eight to nine inches and its diameter is a bit larger than half inch. They use a small rounded wild fruit called 'pisla' as a bullet.

A 'pisla' bullet is put in the open end of this gun barrel and another at the back end of the gun barrel. A bamboo slit of same length as lie barrel or half an inch shorter than it is sized with a handle and polished to act as a trigger in the gun. If a push is given to the bullet by the bamboo slit which is put inside the barrel, the front bullet of the barrel gets fired off and the rear bullet comes to the front of the barrel. The gun firing is continued with a load of another bullet at the back side of the barrel.

14) Kobong Tisao:
Two young men stand back to back by inter locking each other's hand. Then between the two young men one tries to lift the other from the ground.

I 5) Yangla Baharu:
This is a game which follows the pattern of frog leaping. This game is played mainly by the children. The children sit on the ground and hold their ankles with hands behind their calves. Then they start leaping like the frog.

16) Khulpali Tisamani:
A boy lying on his chest bends his legs at the knee and holds the ankles by arms. Another man lies cross wise on his back near the chest of the first man who lies on his chest. Now, the second man tries to lift the first man iiy his hands straight above the ground. lie is declared to be the man of strength if he is successful in lifting up the man and can get to his foot.

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17) Togla Tanlaio: (Cock fighting):
The Tripuri children call this game 'Tagla Tan Laio'.  They pretend to fight each other as cocks. The members of this game are of even number. They make a boundary in the courtyard or in the plain land and all participants assemble in that arena. Every contender holds his ankles by bending one leg at the knee and holds an ear by another hand. Thereafter, one dashes another by jumping on a single leg. At the time of dashing, if any body's leg or ear slips from the grip or if he crosses the boundary he is declared out or disqualified.

18) Khailaio:
Sometimes, the Tripuri boys play a game of bull fight. Two boys facing each other kneel down on the ground and put their hands in front like forelegs of the bull. From a certain distance both of them move slowly ahead aiming at each other. As they come closer, a head to head collision takes place. The Tripuris call this game 'Khailaio'. In this game though they act as bulls and fight each other they never take a deadly challenge as the bulls do.

19) Milok Sanlaimani Thwngmung:
This game is played mainly by the little children. At first one sits on the ground holding a tree or a pole. Behind him other participants sit in queue holding each other. In the group, one remains separated. He does not join the line. That desolate man goes to the man sitting infront of the queue holding the tree or the pole and ask him to give a pumpkin. He then replies that the seed of pumpkin is not available to anybody. Next time the man comes again and wants a pumpkin. Then he assures the availability of pumpkin seeds. Next time when the man wants a pumpkin, he tells that the pumpkin seed has been sown. Next time when the man comes for a pumpkin he then says that the plant is growing. After a while the man comes and wants the pumpkin and gets the reply that the pumpkin plant has creped up on scaffold. Thai man comes again and on asking for the pumpkin knows that the flowers of pumpkin plant are abloom. Next time the man arrives and wants to take the pumpkin. This time the man gets the reply that the pumpkin fruits are born in the plant. Thereafter when the man comes for the pumpkin, he gets the answer that the pumpkin is growing gradually. After a while when the man comes again and wants to get a pumpkin then he is said that if he possesses the capacity then he can gather one. This time the man tries to get one by pulling any one from the queue holding each other. If the man is capable to draw one ultimately from the queue, he credits the win.

20) Badul Thwngliamung:
The Tripuri boys play this game collectively dividing themselves in to two teams. In each team the numbers of players remain equal. They are used to play this game in the open field. At the time of play a mark is given between the two parties. No player is allowed to cross over this marking by any means. Even when the game starts, everybody is restricted to go outside the field. They make a bundle of cloth. As the play begins, one person from either of the group throws the bundle to his opposite group. In the opposite group an effort is made by everybody to catch hold of the bundle, and the one who can catch the bundle gives kite to it and strikes immediately another by it. After the strike he throws it into the opposite team. The man who gets the strike of this handle is declared dead, means not effective or qualified in the game. He gets back life again if he is able to strike anybody by grasping the bundle, otherwise not.

When a member of the party throws the bundle to the opposite side by striking one in his side, the rival members are to follow the same regulations. In this way, the team the person, from any team, who scores highest number of points by striking others through the bundle, are declared the winners.

2l) Swkwi Thougmani:
Both the Tripuri children and youths are very fond of this game. They used to play this game with the seeds of a wild creeper bean (Swkwi). The seeds are flat and of round shape. The colour of the seed is brown wit ii a patch of black. To play this game, a cleaned, plane land is required. A line parallel with the side line of the field drawn on one side of the field. Within this line the Swkwi (seeds) are set in vertical position maintaining distance of 2 inches between them. Another parallel line is drawn at a distance of six to seven cubits from the previously drawn line. They call this line 'Damsa'. From the line 'Damsa' another line is drawn, they call it 'Damnui'. The normal distance between the 'Damcha and Damnui' is about three steps.

The number of players of this game is not fixed. This game can be played between two to three groups or more. The number of players or groups depends upon the numbers of the 'Swkwi'. As for example if low' number of Swkwi are taken, two number of Swkwi are to be set on the line, the other two then remain. In this case if the number of players are four they divide themselves into two groups. Among the four players, two are put into each groups with this two beans. The players of the both side are to strike the beans kept erect on the line. Five steps are required to complete this 'Swkwi' game. The steps are as (1) Damcha (2) Damnui (3) Sukumurku (4) Yachap and (5) Karai Kahang.

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At the line of the play the player is to grip the bean (Swkwi) with his thumb and forefinger. To strike the target by throwing Swkwi with right hand through the gap created by holding the toe of the lifted right leg with the left hand, bending down his body. Here, a restriction is imposed. if the player is able to strike the Swkwi (bean) set erect on the line by the bean held in his hand he will only he accepted when the bean of the line comes to a stop at least at a particular distance. This initial stage of the game is called 'Damsa' . If the game takes place between two individuals, if a player fails to strike the beans kept on the line, then his opponent's turn comes. Or if the game is played between two or three parties, and if a player of a party fails to strike the bean the other players of the sanw group attempt serially to strike the bean.

After getting over of the 'Damcha' stage the second stage of the game i.e. 'Damnui' begins. Like Dameha the 'Damuni' stage is also played iii the same manner. If a player or party is able to overcome the barrier of the 'Damcha' stage then the third stage is to begin. It is to be mentioned that in every stage, the style of the striking a bean is the same, though, a bit different system is also added from the stage of 'Sukumurku'.

In the third stage (sukumurku) of the game the player is to roll t lie Swkwi (bean) on the ground standing on the last line of the field. At the time of rolling of the Swkwi the player runs after the Swkwi uttering 'sukumurku' and stops the Swkwi by the leg at a suitable place where he feels so. Then he strikes the bean from a place where he stops the striker bean. If the target is struck successfully then the player continues to strike the other beans on the line. In these ways if he can strike the beans one after another without miss he gets qualified for the next stage.

In the fourth stage of the game i.e. in 'yachap' the player keeps the Swkwi on the back side of the knee and turns his back. Now he throws the Swkwi (bean) to the playing spot by the leg from where the Swkwi is kept and then runs after the Swkwi and stops it. Thereafter he hits the bean of the line by the striker bean held by him. If the player is able to hit the beans one after another successfully then he continues for the fifth and final round.

For the final round which they call 'Karaikahang' the player keeps the Swkwi in the gap of the thumb and forefinger of the right leg and turns towards the playing arena. Now the player bends forward and rests his hands on the ground raising his right leg on his shoulder and throws the Swkwi. Thereafter, he tries to stop the Swkwi running after it. If lie tails to stop it then he has to strike the Swkwi from the place where the swkwi stops normally. If the target is struck then the particular player wins the game. It deserves mentioning here that the style of striking the beans with the striker bean is same in every stage of play i. e. from Damsa to Karaikahang. In this game when it is played between two individuals and if a player misses the attempt then his opponent hcgins his turn. The player continues to play from the stage where he finishes earlier.

In many occasions they play this game dividing themselves into different groups. If any member of the group fails then his partners are to strike the bean serially. The foregoing game (Swkwi thungmani) most probably could not be described properly as this particular game is not played by the young generations. On the other hand the older generations have almost forgotten this game due to the lack of practice and its complexity. It is worth mentioning here that many of the games mentioned above are disappearing fast.

It is learnt from investigation that a few games are quite uncommon tim time present generation of the Tripuri community though once upon a time these games were played by their fathers and forefathers.

Due to free mixing with other neighbouring castes and because of the impact of urbanisation, the traditional sports of the Tripuri community are losing popularity. Though the present Tripuri boys and girls are not totally in touch with their traditional sports they have got attachment with modern sports and games. The schools, the local clubs and the neighbours of the Tripuri community are extending their helping hand to make the Tripuri children familiar with the modern sports world. It is encouraging that many Tripuri children who remain half fed most of the time are making their foot prints prominent in the sports arena with great enthusiasm. In many faculties of the sports they are recording high progress and skill.

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