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Sports Council Suggests Indigenous Sports for ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’

After the letter, the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Ministry of Tourism are expected to meet on April 27 over promotion of indigenous sports and martial arts.

Eram Agha | News18.comEramAgha

Updated:April 27, 2018, 3:41 PM IST
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Sports Council Suggests Indigenous Sports for ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’
Kalaripayattu of Kerala is known as the mother of all martial arts and its components spread into various forms of martial arts. (Reuters)
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New Delhi: The All India Council of Sports (AICS) has written a letter to the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports stating that PM Narendra Modi’s ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’ initiative does not promote “indigenous sports and martial arts”.

A source in the AICS said, “The emphasis on connecting various states seems to be more on modern sports than indigenous ones or martial arts. Aren’t the states already playing badminton, kho-kho and football at various levels? The focus should be on highlighting the indigenous sports and martial arts — celebrating their similarity.”

Furthermore, the source said, “Many of the sports category programmes in ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’ are duplicating a basic method that has previously been optimised. Explore newer streams — tap into the similarity of folk traditions.”

UNITY IN SIMILARITY

After the letter, the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Ministry of Tourism are expected to meet on April 27 over promotion of indigenous sports and martial arts.

The agenda of the meeting is to showcase the “rich cultural heritage” of the country and to bring forth these “hidden folk martial arts and indigenous games” by organising festivals under the banner of ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’.

The agenda note, that News18 has access to, said, “Bharat Varsh is known for its rich cultural heritage. It’s the land of unity in similarity, ‘‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’, not unity in diversity.”

The idea is to connect “Kashmir to Kanyakumari – from Gujarat to Tripura and Manipur”, the note said.

The AICS official said that folk songs, dances and martial arts that are spread over the length and width of the nation share similarities despite their varied language and tunes. “It shows that similarity should be promoted.”

Pointing out the same, the meeting’s agenda note said, “Tamil Nadu’s Silambam is akin to Thang-Ta of Manipur. Meanwhile, Kalaripayattu of Kerala is known as the mother of all martial arts and its components spread into various forms of martial arts. Punjab’s Gatka shows similarity to Kalaripayattu. And, Nihangs of Punjab show their prowess in various martial arts including their dexterity in Archery while riding a horse. Killa Raipur in Punjab showcases the indigenous games and martial arts every year which has received worldwide acclaim. Bengal has a unique tradition of `Vratchari’ i.e. those who have taken vrat (vow) to fight against oppression, and show their physical fitness and martial arts.”

The Sports Authority of India, that is likely to organise the festival in association with Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Sangeet Nataka Academy and Ministry of Tourism, has adopted ten clubs promoting indigenous games and martial arts.

The program may be attended by more than 400 folk martial artists from all over India. There are plans that include national seminars on preserving these indigenous arts and special lectures by eminent gurus. Scholars from all over India may also be invited to participate in the festival.

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| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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