Saturday, January 29, 2011

Buddhiya Kabbadi Tournament, 17-20 February 2011

Kabbadi was a popular sport in whole of Indian subcontinent since ancient times and though its popularity is now restricted to a few schools and national championships, it still exists in the rural hearts and lean bodies, in the open fields of a summer evening, in the cheers of the passionate spectators and is often referred to it in name by some local variants Buddhiya kabbadi or Chi.

In India it is pretty hard to beat the popularity of Cricket to the extent that Field Hockey and Soccer has to often lean on Cricket and Bollywood celebrities for its promotion so it is not surprising that Buddhiya Kabbadi is dying a slow death and of course the name doesn’t inspire much confidence in the game either.

Some may find it surprising that we chose to bring the attention back this particular game instead of many others that are suffering a similar fate but this particular sport still evokes the team spirit in players and spectators alike that we wish to rekindle. It is all about the community and what the community places emphasis on.

So Buddhiya Kabbadi it is.
Championship that is; and you are invited to witness the vigor and cheer your own teams and be a part of the community

The sport was played in rural area of Magadha region for centuries and it was mostly an evening sport to display strength and strategy and develop community spirit. In its primitive state it is very raw and needed to be modified suitably so that the new followers can participate, track and keep scores. Keeping in mind that the popularity of the game is suffering, points system are introduced so that a long term approach can be build and at the same time individual performance and team performance can also be rewarded.

History of the game

Kabaddi in Hindi means holding of Breath. Modern Kabaddi is a synthesis of the game played in various forms under different names throughout South Asia. Buddhiya Kabaddi is one such ancient sport which has its origin in Magadh region and is still a popular sport among the rural youth. It was probably invented to ward off the group attacks. History reveals that princes played to display their strength and win their brides. The game has many popular local versions. Salle-Maan-Chi is a popular chant for the raiders in the game and the game therefore is also locally popular by name “CHI”.

Skill required
Running, Quickness, Observation

About the game
The game consists of two teams the Raider and the Defender with 9 players each in the field. There are two circular posts called “castle” and “outpost” at the opposite ends inside the bigger oval field. Dimensions of the ground are fixed on mutual agreement. Raiders are occupants of the caste and the outpost while the Defenders occupy the outfield. The raiders have 8 players in the castle and one Buddhiya trapped in the outpost. The defender/raider that is “OUT” shall be sent off the field. Raiders’ objective is to facilitate escape of the Buddhiya trapped at the outpost; they do this by raiding the defenders and “OUT” them. A player can also get “OUT” by going over a boundary line or part of the body touches the ground outside the boundary.Defenders are spread in the field preventing escape of the Buddhiya. The raiders win if the Buddhiya successfully joins them at castle without being touched by the defenders. Defenders win if they prevent the escape of the Buddhiya in the stipulated time or they touch the Buddhiya while she is on her escape run towards the castle. The match has two half of 20 minutes and the raider in 1st half becomes defender in the 2nd half. The match revolves around the Buddhiya the Buddhiya has to escape from the outpost for castle in the stipulated time. In the respective “half” if the Buddhiya is successful or unsuccessful in her escape from outpost to the castle the “half” is complete. The team winning the toss shall choose to either raid or defend in the first half.

How to play

1. At one time only one raider can go for raid
2. Raider shall chant “Salle-Maan-Chi” without breaking the breath while raiding. The chant shall be loud enough and audible.
3. A raider can stay at the outpost while raiding but can not go for the raid from the outpost. Raiders staying at outpost are called “Dead” raiders till they reach back successfully to the castle
4. Raider(s) at the outpost can return back to the castle if one of the raider (Carrier) goes to pick them and successfully (holding the breath) returns back. If the “Carrier” breaks the breath and is touched by the defender then all picked “Dead” raiders and the “Carrier” are “OUT”
5. A “Dead” raider can risk escaping (without help of the “Carrier”) from the outpost for the castle without getting touched by the defenders
6. At any time no more than two raiders can be outside the Castle and Outpost. In such case if a defender touches them one (first to be touched) of them shall be “OUT”
7. Raider has to chant “Salle-Man-Chi” while raiding and shall not break the breath while outside the Castle or Outpost. If the raider breaks the breath and is touched by the defender then he is “OUT”
8. If raider touches the defenders while raiding and successfully returns into the castle or outpost then the defender(s) is “OUT”.

1. Defenders shall occupy the outfield divided in six cells
2. No more than 2 players shall ever occupy one cell during a raid
3. In case any third player enters the cell then the last player to occupy shall be declared “OUT”
4. Objective of the defending team is to prevent a successful escape of Buddhiya in stipulated time period

The  Court


1. Each raider (except Buddhiya) and the defender has 10 points on one’s head
2. For each “OUT” defender or the raider the respective team loses 10 points
3. For a successful escape of Buddhiya the Raider team gets 50 points
4. For the unsuccessful attempt by Buddhiya the Defender shall get 50 points
5. If the Defenders successfully prevent the escape of the Buddhiya in the stipulated time then the Defender get 30 points
6. An individual player shall get 10 points for each player he “out”
7. The player who “OUT” Buddhiya shall gain 50 points
8. Buddhiya shall gain individual 50 points for successful escape
9. Maximum points the raider team can accumulate is 130
10. Maximum points a defender team can accumulate is 140
11. Maximum point an individual raider can accumulate is 90
12. Maximum point an individual defender can accumulate is 130
13. Maximum points a individual can accumulate as defender and raider is 220

Monday, January 24, 2011

Rediscovery of the Silao (Maha Kassapa) Sculpture

An important event in the story of  The Buddha, The Dhamma and The Sangha is the meeting between the Buddha and Maha Kassapa

An inscription on a broken sculpture was discovered by a team of explorers near Silao  (25° 25’ 57 N, 85° 5’ 17 E) in 1934. Published in Epigraphica Indica, Vol XXV, the sculpture (pictured below) was thought to be lost to the world. But based on the picture of the sculpture, the inscription and its translation, we have taken on the challenge to rediscover this piece of history.

The Picture of the Broken Sculpture as Published in Epigraphica Indica
The Impression of the Inscription

The Translation of the Inscription

We discussed the matter with Bhola and Vijay Singh, residents of Silao. Together we went to Mamasthan, a place of worship among the local people. It is situated 500 m northeast of Silao. A team of South-East Asian pilgrims visited the site some 20 years ago and deemed that this could be the place of the historic meeting mentioned in Buddhist Literature between the Buddha and the Maha Kassapa. But when asked about the sculpture mentioned in the Epigraphia Indica, Bhola and Vijay had no idea of the whereabouts of the sculpture.  They had never heard about any such sculpture ever found.
Vijay Singh and Bhola at Mamasthan

With our first attempt yielding no clues, we then decided to visit all the places of worship in the SilaoVillage where the historical collectives are safely kept. After visiting a couple of places to no avail, we reached Mahadevsthan near the house of Rakesh. The Mahadevsthan has many sculptures collected from nearby places and among this collection in one corner was the historic piece of art that will help in the revival of  the ancient Buddhist Pilgrimage.

The Picture of the Broken Sculpture as Published in Epigraphica Indica
The historic piece of sculpture waiting to be rediscovered

Other antiquities of Mahadevsthan

Community members from the Silao Village

Rakesh, whose forefathers were landlords who built Mahadevsthan, informed us about this ancient house where all these sculpture were found and how they came to be at the Mahadevsthan.

Ancient house of Rakesh
This is just first piece of the jigsaw puzzle, and the next is to locate the place where where the team who visited in 1934 found this image. To do this, pictures of this sculpture need to be circulated around the area in order to reach village elders, who may provide the key to solving this puzzle. At present, the community is very happy with this discovery and hope that this will help in reviving the lost glory of the place.
The elated community members

Madhubani art workshop at Nepura

Madhubani Painting Workshop in Nepura
By Nepura Village Tourism Development Committee

A Madhubani Painting  Workshop was organised in Nepura by the Nepura Village Tourism Development Committee in the months of September and October 2010. About 20 artisans of the Anchala Ladies Cooperative (Nepura) participated in the workshop. Madhubani Art  is a traditional craft of North Bihar, whose popularity has increased in recent years.  The Anchala Ladies Cooperative wished to incorporate this craft and enrich the skill set of the cooperative. Nepura Cooperative is known for Sujuni souvenirs based on local Buddhist stories. Artisans create art (sujuni, khatwa,and Madhubani) around Buddhist stories from the local area, including Rajgriha, Nalanda and other nearby villages. The workshop was deemed a success as most of their products sold.

The Workshop story in Pictures

1- Learning the Basics- Making pencil sketches

2- Filling the colours

Ajit from Weavers Cooperative

Rashmi Rani filling the colours using special Madhubani art nib

Manju Devi with her piece

The trainer, Mahesh,with the participants

The best four - Guddi, Arpana devi, Juhi and Rashmi rani

3- The  making of
"The Buddha preaching in Pavarika Amrawana"
by- Guddi, Luso, Juhi and Anuradha

4- Small 2ft x 1ft size souvenir pieces by Select Artisans

Buddha Preaching law by Arpana Devi

Sujata Offering Milk Gruel to the Buddha - By Rashmi Rani

Devadutta Throwing stone at the Buddha on Vulture's Peak - By Lusso

Taming of Nalagiri by- Manju Devi

The Buddha in Veluvana (Bamboo grove) - By Guddi
The Buddha Preaching Law - By Malti Devi

The Buddha, The Sangha and The Dhamma - By Anuradha

The Buddha in Mango Grove - By  Anita Devi

4- A group of pilgrims interacting with artisans at Artisan's Center, Nepura

Ravi Verma with his souvenir - Xuanzang's Welcome at Nalanda Sangharama

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Scientific Clearance of Giriyak Hill Stupa by Archaeological Survey of India

just a beginning.....

Rich archaeological remains at the top and at the base of the Giriyak Hill (25° 01’ 28 N, 85° 30’ 51 E) suggests that this was a very important place in the past. The Big Stone structure (60 Mts X 60 Mts X 40 Mts) is from same period as the Cyclopean wall and Pipalli Stone House. Local folklore links all the mighty stone structures (cyclopean wall, Pipali stone house etc) of Rajgriha with the mythological king  Raja Jarasandha, who also finds mention in the Puranas Literature. 

Local legend says that the during the Mahabharata epic the army of Pandava's camped at the base of Giriyak Hill as the Rajgriha was impregnable. The Cyclopean wall which surrounds the Rajgriha is believed to be built by Raja Jarasandha to prevent the Pandava's from entering Rajgriha. The Big Stone Platform structures at key strategic places around the cyclopean wall  are probably the watch towers. The story further says that the Pandava's army  could enter Rajgriha from the eastern flank (i.e Giriyak Hill). And this was followed by a 27 days dual between Bhima and Raja Jarasandha that  ended with the Jarasandha's Death.

Giriyak Hill and its surroundings also has many Buddhist sites. One of the Important disciples of the Buddha, Sāriputta was born here and later attained Parinirvana in a village close to the Giriyak Hill; as mentioned in the travelogues of the Monk Scholars Fahein (5th CE) and Xuanzang (7th CE). 
Google Earth View of the Giriyak Hill (Left of the River)and the Surroundings
The Ancient Remains on the Giriyak Hill

The Stone Structure and the Stupa

The Huge Stone Structure

The Brick  Cylindrical Stupa

Cyclopean Wall and Stone Structures of Rajgriha
Map of Rajgriha with Hills and the Stone Structures as indicated

Pippali Stone House

Approx 15 Ft Wide and up to 12 Ft High  Cyclopean wall on the Rajgir Hills

The Scientific Clearance at Giriyak Hill by the
Archaeological Survey of  India (Patna Circle)

Path to the top- almost 600 Mt of stone pathway is now free of Bushes

The cleaning has exposed 20 Ft wide ancient path

This ancient Stone paved path was inaccessible before

The Brick Pillar was surrounded by 10 ft  high mound from  Fallen Bricks
The exposed base pedestals are almost 10 Ft High  and the cylindrical brick stupa on it is 28ft in diameter and 21ft high

The base of the Pillar exposed after the clearance

There are two bases with the Pillar on the brick base at North

The two bases as visible from the western side

The Stone structure and the Brick Pillar are connected with a stone pathway as seen from the aerial picture

Stone Path coming down from the stone structure (Aerial View)

The Connecting path after the cleaning

The Stone Path connecting the two mighty structures

The Tank to the right of the Stupa now ready to hold water

On the top of the Stone structure is another brick stupa with a circumambulatory path
The Stupa on the top of the Stone structure before the cleaning
Dense bushes and fallen bricks around the heritage structures
Brick stupa almost 40 ft High and 70 ft in diameter on the top of the stone structure

The stupa is still part of the local legend

40 Ft high Brick Stupa with 20ft wide circumambulatory path on the top of stone structure

Close view of the Scientific Clearance work of the Brick Pillars
The scientific clearance of the Cylindrical Stupa has exposed beautiful motifs made on bricks. we can see a layer of Pilaster on the stupa and at places the pilaster layer is almost one Inch thick. This indicates that this cylindrical stupa was once beautifully decorated with stuccoes. 


Revival of the Place

These mighty structures are just a shadow of its glorious past. Ancient Buddhist remains scattered in remote villages of  Bihar always reminding of the glorious past. A Sariputta World Peace Walk was organized this year at base of the Giriyak Hill with the objective to bring the Bhikkhu Sangha to this heritage site.

These elegant heritage of the past needs to be preserved in the most refined manners known to humanity so that they are available to those who seek solace in the shades of their glorious past