Polo – The king of Games


Introduction

Polo is often called as the ‘king of games’ and the game of kings. It is one of the oldest sports in the world that combines the skills of the rider with the power of the horse.

There are a many games that common people participate in. However, certain games are only played by a select few in exclusive regions. Furthermore, these games are played with small changes in rules from one field to the next. Polo is one of these games. The game is a swift and furious horseback game in which the player strikes the ball with a mallet in his hand.

This lesson tells the story of Polo, the “King of games.” Polo was born in Central Asia, grew up in Iran, and reached adulthood in the north. This game is said to have been played for 2500 years. The game spread to Japan, China, Tibet, and India from the Central Asian steppes. This game, known for its aristocratic background, celebrated horse riding and military skills and was regarded as the supreme test of the capabilities of princes and warriors, second only to the battle itself. Polo was common in mediaeval India, as shown by the fact that Sultan Qutubud din Aibak, the architect of the Qutub Minar, died of a fatal accident while playing polo in Lahore. Under the Mughals, polo was the national sport of India until the end of the sixteenth century.

In the eighteenth century polo almost vanished from the Indian scene. However, it survived in a few remote mountainous enclaves of the great subcontinent, notably in Gilgit, Ladakh and Manipur. According to legends, polo came to central Ladakh from neighbouring Baltistan and it was introduced in Ladakh under King Jamyang Namgyal’s reign in the 16th century who married Gyal Khatun a princess from Baltistan. Polo in Ladakh is not exclusively from the rich. Almost every village has its own polo ground which is called Shagran. Polo in Ladakh is not only sport it is part of the cultural heritage. Ladakh polo differs from the current international format in player count as well as duration each team consist of six players and the game has two rounds of 20 minutes each. A small break called Chukkar is not given (6to 8 min) for change of mount. The game is played until a team scores a goals. No polo match in Ladakh is complete without its musical accompaniment played with of Surna and Daman and the start and finish of each match is marked by special polo music.

Exhibition and tournament matches have been held regularly since the 1970s to revive and institutionalize the game. It now forms an integral part of the annual Ladakh Festival.


Working with the Text | Questions and Answers


1. Why is polo called the game of kings?

Ans. Polo was called the game of kings because it was patronized and played by the kings.

2. Where did polo originate?

Ans. Polo originated in central Asia.

3. What was the status of polo during the Mughal reign?

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Ans. During the Mughal rule, polo was the national sport of India.

4. In whose reign did polo come to Ladakh and how?

Ans. Polo came to Ladakh during the reign of king Jamyang Namgyal. King Jamyang Namgyal married a princess from Baltistan, where polo was played for entertainment. Thus it was brought from Baltistan.

5. How is polo played in Ladakh?

Ans. Polo is played in Ladakh with verve. It is considered a part of the cultural heritage.The matches are played in the late afternoon. Each team consists of six players and the game lasts for an hour with a ten minute break. The game is played until either of the teams scores nine goals. After each goal, the teams change their ends. The scorer gets the privilege to patch up the ball.

Q.1. Why is polo called the game of kings?

Ans. Polo is called the game of kings because it was patronized and played by the kings.

OR

Polo is called the game of kings because it was patronized and played by the kings.
It is played on horseback which requires both horse riding and military skills. It was ranked next to the battle itself as the ultimate test of the prowess of princes and warriors.

Q. 2. Where did polo originate?

Ans. Polo originated in central Asia and then it spread as far as Japan, China, Tibet and India.

Q.3. What was the status of polo during the Mughal reign?

Ans. During the Mughal reign, polo was the national sport of India. During this period polo enjoyed the patronage of kings and nobles and was widely played in the provinces of the empires and the courts of Rajput kings.

Q.4. In whose reign did polo come to Ladakh and how?

Ans. According to legends polo came to Ladakh from neighbouring Baltistan, where for centuries it used to be chief amusement, Historians date the introduction of polo in Ladakh to King Jamyang Namgyal’s reign who married Gyal Khatun, a princess from Baltistan.

Q. 5. How is polo played in Ladakh?

Ans. In Ladakh polo is played with verve. No polo match in Ladakh is complete without its musical accompaniment of surna and Daman. At the start and finish of play and to celebrate every goal special polo music is struck.

OR

Polo is played in Ladakh with a great zeal. It is considered a part of the cultural heritage. The matches are played in the late afternoon. Each team consists of six players and the game lasts for an hour with a ten minute break. The game is played until either of the teams scores nine goals. After each goal, the teams change their ends. The scorer gets the privilege to patch up the ball.

Q.6. How is polo in Ladakh different from the international format?

Ans. Ladakh polo differs from the international format in player count and duration of play. In Ladakh polo each team consists of six players and the game lasts for 1 hour with a ten minute break. The game is played until either of the teams scores nine goals which is not the case in international format. Also the ends are switched once a team scores a goal.

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OR

Polo played in Ladakh differs from the current international format in player count as well as in duration. Here each team consists of six players, and the game lasts for an hour with a ten-minute break. Ladakh polo has two rounds of 20 minutes each. Unlike the system of chukkar short period of six to eight minutes into which the match is divided, here the game is played until either of the teams scores nine goals.

Language work

Following is a dialogue between Arman and Shaila. Sum up the dialogue in a brief paragraph:

Arman: Polo is called the king of games.

Shaila: Why?

Arman: Because in its early history it was played by kings only. It originated in central Asia.

Shaila: That’s funny.

Arman: Two teams with six players each try to score goals against each other. The players are on horseback and strike the ball with mallet.

Shaila: What are the rules?

Arman: The game is divided into halves and the team scoring nine goals wins.

Shaila: Is it dangerous?

Arman: of course! The pace of the game besides the horses and the mallets make it exciting and dangerous.

Answer:

Polo is called the king of games because in its early history it was played by kings only. It originated in central Asia. It is like hockey on horseback. The players are on horseback and strike the ball with a mallet. Two teams with six players each try to score goals against each other. The game is divided into halves and the team scoring nine goals wins.

Grammar work

In the following sentences the underlined words are prepositions:

1. The boy is in the car.

2. I joined this office in 2008.

3. Somebody is at the door.

4. Cows feed on the grass.

5. The murderer was brought to the court.

6. He jumped into the river.

Now in the following sentences, use the correct preposition out of the given options:

1. The boy jumped ………..the fence quickly. (over/across)

Ans. over

2. My colleagues stood by me in my hour of grief. (with/by)

Ans. by

3. A dog fell………a ditch. (in/into)

Ans. into

4. We go ……. 1 pm. (at/in)

Ans. at

5. She is leaving………….Delhi on 6 March. (to/for)

Ans. to

6. The thieves are……………bars now. (behind /before)

Ans. behind

7. Urba and Saba are taking meals ……….. plates.(from/in)

Ans. in

8. I cannot part………this book. (with/from)

Ans. from

9. He ran…… …the field to search for the rabbit. (in/across)

Ans. across

Complete the following paragraph by filling in the correct prepositions:

Sri Lanka won the toss and elected….. bat. They needed 232 runs win and were hopeful of victory because they thought the score would be chased down…… ease. Their top three batsmen fell……. a mere 54 runs which brought the middle order……. pressure. The next two batsmen scored 71 runs 122 balls but they soon lost wickets important moments. They were forced…… lose the match 30 runs……..6 balls remaining. Australia’s McKay finished…… 5 wickets 28 runs. Their victory Sri Lanka has put them the top of the rankings.

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Ans. Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat. They needed 232 runs to win and were hopeful of victory because they thought the score would be chased down with ease.

Their top three batsmen fell at a mere 54 runs which brought the middle order in pressure. The next two batsmen scored 71 runs in 122 balls but they soon lost wickets at important moments. They were forced to lose the match by 30 runs with 6 balls remaining. Australia’s McKay finished with 5 wickets for 28 runs. Their victory over Sri Lanka has put them on the top of the rankings.

Let’s Write

Write an essay (200-250 words) on your favourite game.
A large number of games are popular in our country. Some of them are of foreign origin. Others are indigenous (desi). The most popular games in the cities are hockey, cricket, foot-ball, volleyball, tennis, badminton. In the villages, the indigenous games are still played. They are kabaddi, gulli-danda and wrestling. The game I like most is cricket.

The most popular game in the cities now-a-days is cricket. It is a game of western origin. It is played mostly from September to March. Cricket is played between two teams each consisting of eleven players. Each team has a captain. There are two umpires to supervise the game. The game is played in an open ground. The pitch on which balls are thrown is twenty-two yards long and ten feet wide. At both the ends of the pitch three stumps are fixed in the ground.
The other equipments required for the game are bats, a ball, hand gloves and pads: The usual dress of cricket players is a white shirt and white pant. When the game starts, two batsmen of the batting party take their place at both the stumps. The captain of the fielding side fields and places the players at different places. The umpires take their places as the bowling starts. Six balls are thrown in an over. After the over, the ball is thrown from the other side.

The game of cricket is very interesting. It is a delight to watch the batsmen driving, cutting and hooking the balls. The bowlers also show great skill. The fielders are also very alert. They would hardly let a ball go to enable the batsmen o make runs. Sometimes fine catches bring applause from all the viewers.
Cricket test matches are very popular not only in India but everywhere in the world. Thousands of men and women watch a test match from morning to evening. Those who are away would sit close to their radios or television sets listening to the commentary.

India has made great progress in cricket. Indian cricketers are as good as others in the world. Lala Amarnath, Vijay Merchant, Hazare, Mankad, Nawab of Pataudi and Sunil Gavaskar have been ranked amongst world class players. Now Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, M.S. Dhoni, Yuvraj, Irfan Pathan and Harbhajan Singh are some of the notable players of the country. They have represented India in all the international contests. The popularity of cricket stars is increasing day by day. They come next to film stars in order of precedence.

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