Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kyntiñ mookhrah: the lost traditional game of the Pnars

No it is not an oversize soccer ball; it is not a wooden ball use in the game of datlawakor a game similar to football played at the fag end of the celebration of Behdieñkhlam festival, it is a stone about thrice the size of a football and it was used in the traditional sports played by the earlier generation of the Pnars to compete among themselves.
Apart from the common game of archery known as ia-siat thong, earlier the Pnars also use to have many more games that they played to entertain themselves at their leisure time. Noh sakyriat (seesawing), dat rangdoos (a game similar to cricket using a long stick as a bat and a small stick instead of a ball with no opposing team), iadat moopoin (a game in which the goal for a team is to try putting flats stones on top of each other till the last one; while the opposing team using a ball or any soft object try to hit the opponents preventing them from being able to completely put the flat stones on the top of each other, the player who was hit has stay out of the game.), ialeh seitjain (a game similar to hop skip and jump), pdiah myrlot (playing marbles), e- iapuh syiar (cockfighting), e-iadaw masi (bull fighting), siat sim, eiñ-sim eiñ-lakynjot (bird catching and bird trapping), beh doh (hunting), ieñ doh (trapping animals) iapuh syiar pyllah (boys imitating cock fighting each other standing on one leg and holding the other leg up with one of their hand), beh kynjun (community fish catching using a huge basket as a trap), kher dakha (cathing fish in the big river by using nets), ieñ-khnam (catching one type of fish -dathli by using a basket trap), khwe dakha (fishing), ia beh ke (children chasing each other using a pole in the middle as a goal to rest), ia hai (a game which is pnars own version of Kabbaddi), rieh ku-ku (play hide and seek), chong sapdoi (play swing), khreh khon kchu (play acting), ia sleit (wrestling), ia-panang lapakhot (throwing boomerang) and kyntiñ mookhrah (a competition to lift and throw the stone as far as one can). In the War Jaintia area of Amlarem sub division, they have a special game called iah-kui thneng (a competition in which men compete each other to climb a bamboo with all its branches cut clean and the top of the bamboo was filled to the brim with mustard oil which spills as the bamboo move and make it slippery).
Noh sakyriat, iadat moo-poin, ialeh seit jain, pdiah myrlot, eiñ sim, eiñ lakynjot, iapuh syiar pyllah, ia beh ke, ia hai, rieh ku ku, chong sapdoi, khreh khon kchu are children’s games in which both boys and girls plays together, then dat rangdoos, e- iapuh syiar, e iadaw masi, siat sim-ieñ sim, ia-puh syiar, ia-panang lapakhot are boys games, e- iadaw masi, beh kynjun, khwe dakha, ieñ khnam, ia sleit, kyntin mookhrah, beh doh, ieñ doh, ia siat thong are men’s games.
Kyntiñ mookhrah which literarily means lifting and throwing the khrah stone; is not only a man’s game, but it is a game for the big and muscular members of the community. Unlike a modern day shot put the size of which one can hold with one hand, mookhrah is a huge stone with an approximate size of two or three soccer ball. The competition is to lift the huge and heavy and round stone (most of the time made of granite) over one’s shoulder and then throw it forward as far as one can possibly throw it, obviously the man who can throw the farthest away becomes the winner.
The mookhrah are always round in shape and some of the mookhrah are hand carved and some are round stones collected from the river beds. There are only few villages that still have these mookhrah although now no one can even lift it singlehandedly. In most of the villages where one can find mookhrah, the stone are left uncared and one fear lest the stones will disappear one day. One hopes that it is not too late for the department of Arts and Culture Government of Meghalaya to try and salvage this stone or they will be lost forever.

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