Sunday, November 11, 2007

‘Game of Hinghots’ : Injures many but still played ?

This is a virtual ‘no rule’ game traditionally played every year, a day after diwali in Gautampur, eleven kilometers off Indore town in the State of Madhya Pradesh. Two teams hurl ‘traditional live fire crackers/bombs or hinghots’ at each other. The only protection guard, which also is with few, is a small shield of Iron locally called as ‘Dhal’. This game is extremely risky and injures many every year. Hinghot is a lemon shaped locally grown wild fruit. Villagers from villages like Tura, Kalgi, Gautampura, Runji empty this fruit and fill it gun powder. In the game these ‘fruits shaped fire bombs’ are lit with fire and thrown by one team of participants at another and vice versa . There are two teams with no fixed number of players who play this game and each team throws any number of these missiles like fire bombs at any time. The game has no rules here except that they are normally separated by a distance which is marked but there is NO ‘no ball’ or bouncers, and neither an umpire.

One has to throw lighted lemon shaped hinghot fire cracker / bombs mounted on stick after lightning it with fire at a high speed on the other team. One who throws it normally aims at someone but it is like a ‘missile’ which goes untamed. The stick gives it the needed momentum and a high speed, which makes it more dangerous. Unlike T-20 or T- 50 match, it goes on till the time one team recedes or finishes its ammunition. It normally starts in evening day after diwali after participants pay their respect at the temple and goes on till night.

Though administration uses loud speaker to announce precautions and asking them to restrict to their area but who listens and is this enough? People come in hundreds to watch this game and many times get injured as these missiles like fire bombs land up within spectators. Last year about fifty including participants and spectators had got injured, a real high cost to play and watch this game. One spectator watching the game told a media channel Sahara Samay reporter who was covering this game live, that this has been played every year for years now except in 1992 when one person had died and administration had stopped it for couple of years but was reassumed again. The other spectator told him that last year a young boy named Raj Kumar had lost his eye but that did not deter him to play again ? They say it is a traditional game and people living in this area have been seeing this happening for years, a day after Diwali. People who participate from nearby areas plan and prepare for this game for month in advance and make these missiles like hinghots locally. Now some even sell these missiles like hinghots in the area. Not much has been done to stop this risky game or make this safer, in case it is very necessary to play this game which injures many and even leaving some disabled for life long.

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