Hunsa’s tryst with holi, fistfight

Hunsa’s tryst with holi, fistfight
Highlights

India is no stranger to strange traditions - as the cliche goes. Around 220 kms north of Hyderabad, Hunsa, a tiny village in Nizamabad district, got into a fistfight mode, a tradition borrowed from its neighbouring village Sagroli in Maharashtra, with almost all its residents divided into two and pitted against each other to play Pidiguddulata (game of fisticuffs) on Friday.

Hunsa (Nizamabad): India is no stranger to strange traditions - as the cliche goes. Around 220 kms north of Hyderabad, Hunsa, a tiny village in Nizamabad district, got into a fistfight mode, a tradition borrowed from its neighbouring village Sagroli in Maharashtra, with almost all its residents divided into two and pitted against each other to play Pidiguddulata (game of fisticuffs) on Friday.

No one in 4,000-odd population has a definite idea of how and when this weird tradition was begun, but all that they believe is to follow it with utmost fervour for the wellbeing of their village. However, the villagers start to play it a few days before the festival; it culminates in grandeur on Holi Pournima.

The festival is hectic and intense as it includes other activity as well, especially the wrestling competition. Hundreds from neighbouring villages including Maharashtra participate in the wrestling with fans betting on their choice ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 1,000. After playing Holi till the afternoon, the villagers gather in agriculture fields, where wrestling competitions are conducted. Later, they move to the Hanuman temple, the centre point of village to take part in the grand old tradition – Pidiguddulata.

The villagers, split into two groups, are separated by a rope. Standing either side of the rope they exchange blows. In this play, if a person places his hand on the rope, those on the opposite side attack him with bare hands.

The rule is that not to hit anyone unless that person places his hand on the rope. The game goes on for about one hour. And it’s all hugs after the play is over with no one displaying signs of animosity. Moreover, those injured in the fistfight don’t go to hospital, they themselves treat their blushes with the knowledge traditionally transmitted to them.

The folklore says that Hunsa is a place of mysterious powers. It’s said that once a rabbit set a dog on run. Knowing the incident, the then local king relocated the village to a nearby place. The legend has it that Sagroli village, located on the other side of Manjira river on Maharashtra side, was prosperous while Hunsa was poverty-stricken.

A seer at that time advised the Hunsa residents to follow the tradition of fistfight like Sagroli. The advice paid off and rest is history. What is strange is that while Hunsa following the tradition ardently, the villagers of Sagroli follow it no more.

Speaking to The Hans India, Hunsa village Sarpanch T Gangaram said: “May be the tradition lacks logic, but it’s an age-old tradition that we deeply engrossed in it to follow.”

T Sanju, a youth of the village, said that there were instances of bad omen when the ritual was suspended due to police’s advice a few years ago. It’s learnt that police also warned the villagers this year stating that the tradition is dangerous.

Meanwhile, the fistfight and other revelry filled with festival of colours were culminated on a peaceful note on Friday.

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