In ‘Khanchhuak atanga invuak thlak’ game, two individuals sit on a pole. They have to balance themselves while beating each other with a padded club Credit: EastMojo image

Aizawl: The Mizoram Indigenous Games Association (MIGA) and the Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) jointly organised the Inter-Higher Secondary School Mizo Infiamna (Indigenous Games) competition in Aizawl, Mizoram recently. The two-day event was held to create awareness about indigenous games, especially among Mizo youths.

The Inter-Higher Secondary School Mizo Infiamna (Indigenous Games) was jointly organised by the Mizoram Indigenous Games Association and Mizo Zirlai Pawl

Knowing fully well the values of social skills and cultural values imparted by these indigenous games, the MIGA, after its establishment in 2016, have been making several attempts to revive many indigenous games at the state level. The recently-concluded initiative was the third such event planned by the association to promote and popularise these traditional games among the young Mizo generations — previously organising them at Lunglei and Serchhip last year.

Mizo students gather to participate in indigenous games competition

Speaking with EastMojo, Lalhruaitluanga, president of MIGA, said, “Every race has games associated with its culture and practices. Modernisation has led many youths to forget and shun out these indigenous games. It is the responsibility of the older generation to impart the knowledge and skills associated with indigenous sports and promote cultural pride.”

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With the popularity of international sports and online games among Mizo youths, there is a risk of indigenous games extinction in the state. This has sparked off fear among many who want to preserve these games. According to them, a few years down the line, the new generation will completely forget the traditional/indigenous Mizo games.

The famous ‘insuknawr’ or rod pushing game in progress

With an aim to popularise the indigenous games among younger generation, MIGA plans to involve middle and high school students in the coming years. There is a plan to organise a ‘Mizoram Open’ championship for indigenous games in the near future.

The Mizo indigenous games promote camaraderie and brotherhood, where even the losing team enjoys the spirit of the game. “We plan to promote indigenous game like ‘Insuknawr’ (rod pushing) at the national level. We will also create systematic and uniform rules for each game,” Lalhruaitluanga added.

The Inter Higher Secondary School Indigenous Games saw participation from 10 higher secondary schools. Over 600 students competed in various Mizo indigenous games like Kalchhet kal, Inarpathai, Khanchhuak atanga invuak thlak, Insuknawr, Inarpasual, Kawikah Ralsai, Ketaminu tlan and Inbawlvawm.

The overall champion was Govt Chaltlang Higher Secondary School. They were given a trophy, certificate and cash prize of Rs 20, 000.

Here are five Mizo indigenous games that you probably didn’t know about:

Kalchhet kal: It is a relay race using bamboo. The place where the foot is kept is usually 2 feet from the ground. If a player falls down during the race, he/she is allowed to get up on the bamboo and continue with the race.

Insuknawr: It is also commonly known as rod pushing. Each team/individual holds the rod under their arms and like a game of tug and war, they have to push each other out of the circle. They must try to remain within the circle for over 60 seconds.

Khanchhuak atanga invuak thlak: In this game, two individuals sit on a pole. They have to balance themselves while beating each other with a padded club. They are not allowed to touch the pole to balance themselves. But they can use their single hand for defence.

Kawlkaih ralsia: This is a game using the seeds of creeper beans. The beans are placed at a distance of 5/6 meters.The girls from each team has a chance to shoot the beans thre times each.

Inarpathai: This game mimics cock fighting. While holding their arms and legs, the players try to push each other out of the line. The teams sit facing each, and their opponent is attacked in such a way that the arm that they are holding must be released. As soon as the arm is released, the opponent wins. Each individual that defeats his opponent can help his teammate. The game usually lasts for about 5 minutes.

Inarpasual: The game mimics cock fighting too. The players have to hold their legs and arms at the same time. They loose the game if their arms and legs are removed. Each player has to push the other out or push the other down. If a player fails to retain holding his hands and feet together, he is out of the game.

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