Report by Akshya Rout; Jajpur: The age -old martial arts and other rural sports which were almost a traditional hallmark of Raja, Dussera, Kali Puja, Ratha Jatra and other festivals ,seem to be dying a slow death in Jajpur district and its nearby areas. The ever increasing reach and popularity of cable television also plays a role in this. But in village Khandtiri , Balichandrapur, Chatia, Nalipur and other villagers organised the three day long Raja festival where many villagers exhibit their traditional martial and other sports .
Many villagers used to practise wrestling , sword fighting, Paika Akhada, Bagudi , horse dance and Kabadi in earlier times. But presently, this is rarely done as the younger generation lacks its rudimentary knowledge and is lured away by the television, preferring to watch sports rather than take part in these events for which the village committee members of Bagada have been organizing ancient sports including martial arts to revive the art forms. The three day long martial sports attracted thousands of people on the occasion of Raja festival “Raja festival is also called as monsoon festival as the farmers start cultivation after the Raja festival.
Each year monsoon generally reach Orissa in the first week of June. But the delay of the arrival of monsoon this year dampened the sprit of Raja, the festival of monsoon in many areas of state. But the villagers celebrated the Raja festival by organizing rural sports”, said Dr Manzoor alli noted social worker of Sukinda.
According to Pitambar Nayak of Balichandrapur , “We organized competitions for Kabadi, Bagudi and wrestling ,sword-fighting and other traditional martial arts to encourage youth participation for three day long Raja festival”.
Around 70 youths of seven blocks of the district participated in Kabadi , Bagudi, sword-fighting and other rural sports and the events drew thousands of spectators. The craze of cricket for the youths is the main reason behind the untimely death of many rural sports in the state, said Manas Das a retired school teacher of Chatia.
According to renowned historian Dr Basudev Das of that many interesting legends surround the origin of the arts here. To defend Hindu religion during the Mogul rule, many persons learnt martial arts to fight the Muslim invaders is one of the legends.
These martial art practices have percolated down the generations through family patronage. There popularity is on a wane, but for the efforts of village committee of Bagada and Itipur who are trying forb their revival.
It is high time these unique art forms patronised by the government. But the district administration has been paying only lip service towards the age old art forms, said Malaya Mallick a sword-fighter of Balichandrapur.