B M Lavakumar
The natives of Kodagu who were busy playing hockey, cricket, football and other games during summer season are venturing into silted-paddy-fields to enjoy different games amidst rains.
If you go on a round in Kodagu, you will find people busy running in silted-paddy-fields and other rural games amidst torrential rains. It has been gaining popularity since a few decades besides it entertains rural folks in the monsoon season. Its indeed difficult to move around in Kodagu especially during monsoon, but the people are not of their nature to sit at home cozily wrapped in blankets. They enjoy rural sports in silted-paddy-field that is unique to them.
If you go to see, rural sports are not new to natives of Kodagu. The traditional running in silted-field adds flavor to rural sports. If you go back to history, its during royals rule, the soldiers used to be engaged in rural sports in silted-fields, while the royals would view the sports by standing on the curbs of paddy field.
The rural sports in silted-field were not so much popular in Kodagu in the past 3 to 4 decades ago. The people had no time to enjoy such games either, because during those days, paddy cultivation was the key crop. There were a few coffee estates. The cardamom was a major crop grown in the midst of huge trees in the lush jungles. The farming of cardamom used to begin during monsoon. The farmers who were unmindful of commercial crops were engaged in paddy cultivation within their capacity. The paddy cultivators used to begin tilling on the beginning of June and complete planting saplings by end of June. They were busy in their tasks and were unbothered of glamour of towns. A few farming families used to organize rural games for the delight of people in their neighbourhood. The children who partake in such games gave them the feeling of winning Olympics.
The planting of saplings has been a strenuous task and also a comradeship. There were no modern machineries. One has to till the earth with the help of buffaloes and plant the saplings amidst torrential rains. Majority of them used to plant saplings in small farmlands and leave larger farmlands that need more laborers. Such laborers will be engaged to plant saplings in large farmlands and were provided with good foods (that is still prevailing) that field used to be called as Kambla. The rural sports were held in such Kambla fields and winners will be given away prizes in the form of cash, coconuts, beetle leaves and plantains. It was indeed entertaining the rural folks.
New dimension to rural sports:
In spite of rural games were held across Kodagu, the rural sports meet that used to be held in the large paddy-field of C B Bopayya, at Kaggodlu, near Madikeri has a greater significance. It’s because the sports enthusiasts from faraway villages used to arrive here to partake in the rural sports here. It gained popularity by the sponsorship of Lions Club, Kodagu police department. The rural sports meet used to held a week ahead of Independence Day celebrations on Saturday every year. The prizes to the winners used to distribute during Independence Day celebrations in Madikeri town. It was followed for a few years, while it was given a new shape by youth services and sports department, youth hostel Madikeri unit.
The youth hostel and youth service and sports department in the association of social welfare, voluntary organizations introduced volleyball, relay, tug-of-war, running with lemon and spoon, all these games in silted-fields. The rural sports meet gained statewide recognition.
Its customary to organize rural sports meets in silted-filed at Kaggodlu on a Saturday ahead of August 15 every year. Thousands of people gather at the occasion. The competitions were held separately for children, women and men. The traditional running in silted-field is being organized for all village folks. Its indeed a rare treat to view the rural athletes compete among each other for the coveted prizes. It indeed demonstrates, the natives of Kodagu are not only brave but also sports enthusiasts. There are no viewer’s gallery, one can view the sport by standing on the curb or on road. The venue of rural sports meet is located in Kaggodlu that lies 6 kilometers away from Madikeri – Murnadu road.