Tournament held to preserve 'Mukna Kangjei', traditional wrestling hockey of Manipur
Imphal: In the history of Indian sports, traditional or native games reveal a lot about the culture and the people of the place.
In the context of the modern world, everyone is busy exploring new technologies; gadgets and video games have overshadowed the traditional local games. These games have lost their sheen and we often tend to forget their importance.
India has a rich culture and history and each state has its own local sports. One such game of the state of Manipur is Mukna Kangjei. It is akin to the modern day hockey and people of Manipur have been playing it since time immemorial.
The second Governors Trophy Mukna Kangjei tournament, organised to preserve and promote the indigenous sport, concluded at the historic Polo Ground of Manipur recently.
Held under the aegis of Kreeda Bharati in association with All Manipur Mukna Association, the tournament saw the participation of five teams from five districts of Manipur including Kreeda Bharati Imphal West, Kreeda Bharati Imphal East, Kreeda Bharati Thoubal, Kreeda Bharati Kakching, and Kreeda Bharati Bishnupur.
“We are trying to revive our traditional games which are gradually dying. So with this purpose, we have organised this tournament to restore the sport,” said, TH. Basantakumar Singh, Organising Secretary.
“In the year 2017, the Governor’s Trophy State Level Mukna Kangjei tournament was conceptualised and in the year 2016, we requested our governor, Dr Najma Heptulla, to sponsor the tournament. Mukna Kangjei means wrestling cum hockey. It has separate rules than other sports and is well organised,” Singh added.
Popularly known as ‘Mukna’, the game is a combination of Kangjei (hockey stick) and Mukna (a form of Manipuri wrestling). The game is played only by the natives of Manipur and it is a great fusion of traditional wrestling and hockey. The Kangjei stick is made up of cane and the Kangdrum (ball) is made up of seasoned bamboo roots.
In the final match of the tournament, Kreeda Bharati Imphal East beat Kreeda Bharati Thoubal by 9-5 and won the championship trophy and Kreeda Bharati Thoubal bagged the runners up trophy.
Dr Najma Heptulla awarded a cash prize of Rs. 20,000 to the winners and Rs. 10,000 to the runner ups along with a trophy.
“We truly want to give credit to the organisation for organising this tournament. In the future, we want to work more and participate in greater sports events,” said, Elendro, one of the players.
“It is a traditional and ancient game of Manipur,” said Najma Heptullah, Governor, Manipur.
It is worth mentioning that the origin of the game dates back to Aniconic worship and during the celebration of ‘Lai Haraoba’, Mukna Knagjei was played to mark the end of the festival.
Mukna Kangjei is a game which requires enormous physical stamina, speed, and agility. It is played by two teams, each consisting of seven players. Each player holds a cane stick, about 4 fee long, to play the ball made of seasoned roots which are approximately four inches in diameter.
The game starts by throwing the ball at the captain of the teams, who stand facing each other on the line in the centre of the field, which is about 200 x 80 yards in the area.
The players generally wear Mukna Kisi Phijet (dress of cloth knot) for protection, and hold on to each other.
Organising such tournaments will not only preserve the rich legacy of the state of Manipur but in the long run, it will help retain its charm despite the popularity of other modern games.