It may give an impression that this great adventurous sport “ Polo” may belong to the British or some developed country as they have the greatest players but no, it never belong to them, it’s our own sport, a game of the highlander of central Asia. A game played by the great rulers like Alexander the great while his rule in Persia, the Persian rulers and the Delhi Sultans. Historians say that its origin goes back to the 6th Century BC but it may be much older than that. Initially it was designed to train the troops for war against enemies but later people adopted it as a sport of leisure and today it is an Olympic sport.
In Gilgit Baltistan it has been the most favorite sport of the royal families and general public of different regions prior to the amalgamation of Gilgit Baltistan with Pakistan when there use to be different small states. Polo’s actual name is buula and is known by this name in the region. However British while introducing it in the Great Britain gave it the name Polo which is a Balti word meaning ” Ball” and the rest of the world know it by the name Polo. The equipments use in the polo game are Thari (Shina name for the wooden ball), Finchi (Shina word for the wooden stick) and the players ride on a horse and hit the ball to make goal. Every player in the team tries in pass the ball to its member so the opponent can’t make goals against them.
Previously there was no limit of minimum players in each team and the winner team was the one who succeeded to make first nine goals. With time rules were added and now it’s played for an hour with two halves and a ten minute break. In different parts of the world other than Gilgit Baltistan. There are six team players in each team. These rule do not apply to the game played in Gilgit Baltistan. Almost every household have polo player in prior to the coming of new ways of living to the remote areas of Gilgit Baltistan. The central villages have their own Polo grounds where the players from nearby villages get together to play. The royal family was invited. They use to play with the royal family as will. Time is changing really fast and we are oblivious of the fact that the game is dying and merely becoming a symbolic game of 3 day Shandur Polo festival game which is set in the month of July every year on the roof top the world the world’s highest polo ground in Chitral, Pakistan.
I’m of the opinion that the majority of the natives belonging to the new generation are ignorant regarding the importance of this High Asia sport and the pride of our forefathers. We are mainly responsible for not communicating and training as well as encouraging our own sports which are far better that the games we have adopted.
P.s. the pictures i shared in this article are taken from public domain and editing credit goes to my love friend Javeria :)