Name: Dr. Biplob Chowdhury* & Prof. Samiran Mondal**,
Affiliation: *Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Education, Burdwan University.
**Professor, Department of Physical Education, Visva-Bharati University.
Name of the sport: Narkel karakari (Coconut Fight)
Narkel karakari (Coconut Fight)
It was a traditional combative team game that had been played in rural Bengal during the celebration of the religious festival. This game had been played with a Coconut among various teams altogether and the competition is regarding the possession of the Coconut. It had some similarities with Rugby. But people claim that this game is been playing since the ancient times when Lord Krishna took birth at Mathura on 3228 BCE and brought to his foster-father Nanda Maharaj at Gokula.
Mythological and Religious association:
The game is traditionally associated with Hindu religion. It is said to have started as a ceremonial celebration of the birth of Lord Krishna. After that, this game had been held on the occasion of the festival of Janmashtami or the birthday of Lord Krishna.
Laws and Dress:
Unlike Rugby, it is played both on the field and water. Many teams use to come from different neighbouring parts of a village and took part altogether. The team which were able to took possession of the Coconut and took it away to their own territories wins. The winning team is given no materialistic awards or prizes. They use to fight for their own prestige. The game had to be started in front of the Krishna Temple. The number of participants of a team was unlimited. It had some similarities with “Mob Football” that had been played in Europe during the medieval period.
This game drew huge attraction to the spectators because of it mass participation. It had no strict rules. The players had to get the Coconut by any means. Sometimes they rub their bodies with mustard oil or mud to make slippery to catch each other. There was no specific dress or uniforms. Players were generally bare footed and wore shorts (a langot) but no shirts.
Usually, 4 Coconuts were given one after another. After a team successfully took away the Coconut to their territory next one is being given. No player was allowed to take any external help of any types of equipment or vehicles. They can go anywhere around the village but once a team reached to their own area with the coconut, the other teams left them and then a new coconut again introduced.
This religious event had become extremely popular because through it the teams of the small provinces could show strength and prosperity. It became more competitive when it ultimately transformed to a prestigious fight between the small Landlords of the village. They took it very seriously for their prestige and fame. Sometimes they brought players from outside to win the contest. In this way, this pure religious event had become a political propaganda in the society. Nobody knows how and why this event had been extinct from the society. But still now there are some witnesses live who can recall easily about the artefacts of this famous game.
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