There are several indigenous sports in Pakistan (and India) which many of us have played in our past lives but they don’t get much coverage in written media. e.g. gilli danda, kanchay, lattu bazi, patang bazi, gali cricket, kabaddi etc. One such very popular game is called langRi paala.
Today I have taken a trip down the memory lane and tried to recall my golden days of being a langRi paala champion in school. I then tried to google the rules of langRi paala and not surprisingly nothing came up. This lit a bulb in me and this article is an attempt to produce a first-of-its-kind document to list official rules and regulations for the great game of langri paala.
Before we go any further here is a sketch of a langRi paala match. Since there is absolute dearth of printed and photo material on this sport, hence this hand drawn sketch by me. Therefore paas karo warna bardaasht karo.
The name of the game is langRi paala.
The word langRi means a disabled leg. Note again that it means only one disabled leg.
The word paala means the playing arena or playing court.
While the word langRi sounds like a word straight out of Ferozsons’ Feroz-ul-lughaat Urdu jadeed, I am not sure about the origins of paala. I went to a majority Gujrati speaking school where all kind of paala games were played e.g. seeRhi paala (played on stadium seats and stadium aisles), langRi paala, stage paala etc so I am just making a guess that it could be a Gujrati word. I’ll take our readers comments for citation here and make corrections, as necessary.
The Spirit of the Game:
There are two teams in a game.
Playing area is confined by an agreed upon rectangular area called paala.
A toss of a coin decides which team will ‘bat’ first and which team will ‘field’ first.
The terms ‘batting’ and ‘fielding’ are borrowed from the universal game of cricket which is understood even by non living things in South Asia, hence its effect on langRi paala terminologies should be understandable.
The fielding team sends in a player hopping on one leg.
The hopper guy’s job is to either tag the players of batting team or push them out of the paala (playing area) which renders them Out. Once all the ‘batting’ players have been declared Out the ‘fielding’ team comes in to bat and the process repeats.
The job of the ‘batting’ team is to dodge the hopper guy until he puts his second leg down on the ground (or both legs go in the air – which also happens sometimes.) When this happens the hopper guy is declared ‘Over and Out’ and the fielding team sends in a new hopper.
If the fielding team runs out of all hoppers then it is called a ‘Follow On’ (another term borrowed from cricket.) In such case all the batting players that were already ‘Out’ become alive again and batting team gets another ‘innings’ of dodging the hoppers. The fielding team which is pretty tired by now is a picture of Agha’s sher:
nasheeli nigaheN, qadam luRkhaRaaye
woh aaye woh aaye woh aaye woh aaye
Some Universal Rules:
*) There is no limit to the number of players in a team. It can be a one-on-one game or tens of people can be in a team.
*) There is no limit to the size and shape of ‘paala’ (playing area.) It is usually a rectangle drawn in sand by somebody’s foot and the area of a ‘paala’ depends on teams’ stamina and the number of players in a team.
*) As the number of players increase the size of paala also increases proportionally.
*) A ‘langRi paala’ tournament can also be held among three or more teams.
*) There is no time limit to this game. One can play it to their heart’s content or should I say as long as they can continue to hop on one leg.
The Finer Aspects of langRi paala:
*) This game is usally played in schools which are too strict on letting their students bring cricket bats, soccer balls, frisbees etc to school. In such cases the ‘empty handed’ students have no other choice but to recite following ‘sher’ and play langRi paala .
hum bhee tasleem ki khoo DaaleN ge
be-niazi teri aadat hee sahi
I also belonged to one such strict school therefore I excelled in langRi paala much before making to schools’ cricket team.
*) In one version of the game, which is played during school recess the team who gets to ‘bat’ all through the recess time usually shouts ‘muffat ki batting’ in the end and run to their classes.
Note: There is a fine difference between the correct pronunciation of ‘muft ki batting’ and the joyful taunt of ‘muffat ki batting’. The word ‘muffat’ means ‘muft(free)+joy’ and it is used when you get something for free and opposition doesn’t get it.
*) langRi paala is as much a ‘mind’ game as it is physical. One has to get into the skin of opposition by taunts to get them to make mistakes e.g. the batting team may taunt the hopper on one leg by shouting
“chup chup khaRay ho zaroor koi baat hai”
and the hopper may reply this before leaping for the final tagging glory:
“pehli mulaqaat hai ji pehli mulaqat hai”
and then shapaaaka!!! – which is usually the sound effect of a harsh tagging on the back of a batting guy.
The hand sketch to the right shows an illustration of a tagged out batsman.
*) As I mentioned earlier I played most of my langRi paala with Gujrati speaking friends so some taunts went in the form of ‘filmi’ dialogues e.g. the hopper would say in English/Gujrati
“I love you..pyar karo cho”
and the batting side would reply in same poetic wazan as
“ab ke pakaR ke bataa tu.”
*) I want to end this post on this Ibn-e-Insha sher which is Urdu-Punjabi mix and most likely was written for langRi paala. It goes like this:
ajab paida kiye haiN yaar tum ne apni suhbat ke
koi langRa, koi loola, koi kaana, koi Dhera
Labels: Local Context, Sports
posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, May 31, 2011,
What is happening is Pakistan is very serious and every sane Pakistani is well serious; on going wave of terrorism, Osama bin Laden’s undetected stay in Pakistan, American operation and more than that trying to capitalize the situation to gain maximum from it. What surprised me most is the mocking attitude of some of the anchormen on some of the TV channels.
Worst was watching Capital Talk on Geo TV today, one could see Hamid Mir
trying to unearth what has happened during in camera session of the parliament yesterday. I got the impression that he knew most of the questions and some of the answers and was visibly happy about it. And he was trying to spoon fee the gust in the talk show. Thanks that the guest showed some restrains.
The way Hamid Mir was using words ‘DG ISI has surrendered’ gave a clear impression that the Anchorman has no considerations for what is being discussed and what are the stakes. Let me hasten to add that I am not against independent media nor am I defending any person, agency or organization here. Every one should be accountable for their own doings.
What I want to point out is that media people must show some maturity while discussing serious matters relating nation security and act responsibly. After all they too are Pakistanis. Or are a few of them promoting someone else’s interests?
Labels: Media, News and Media
posted by S A J Shirazi @ Monday, May 30, 2011,
May 13, 2011 is the 150th anniversary of railways in Pakistan as the first track that became functional in areas which now comprise Pakistan was inaugurated on May 13, 1861 (this seems to be the season for 150th anniversaries!).
The photo above shows railway tunneling in Bolan Pass. The photo is credited to Agha Waseem
The section that was inaugurated on this day 150 years ago was the 173 km long track between Karachi City and Kotri. At ATP we’ve already covered the inaugural event with a dedicated post therefore I will not go in too much detail. I’ll rather delve into what Pakistan Railways could’ve been and what it could still be.
Following is an advertisement of Pakistan Railway which was published on the 1953-54 year book of PR by the Railway Division, Government of Pakistan.Read more »
Labels: History, Railways
posted by S A J Shirazi @ Saturday, May 14, 2011,
I am looking for top Urdu blogs in Pakistan blogsphere.
بے طقی باتیں بے طقے کام
What Am I میں کیا ہوں ۔ ۔ ۔ ۔
شازل کا بلاگ
If you know of good Urdu blogs, please leave the URL in comment section. Thanks
Labels: Fine Art of Blogging, Urdu Blogs
posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, May 10, 2011,
Related: Farewell to my mother
by Jalal Hameed Bhatti [also read a touching tribute by Jalal about her mother here
Labels: Personal, Sweet Tweets
posted by S A J Shirazi @ Sunday, May 08, 2011,
The Lahore School of Economics
Seventh Annual Conference on the Management of the Pakistan Economy [May 4th
, May 5th
, and May 6th
] concluded at the Burki campus today. The theme of this year’s conference was “Financial Sector Development and Management’. The conference brought together a group of distinguished researchers and policy makers from across Pakistan and abroad. The underlying objective of the Lahore School annual conference is to promote discussion on key policy issues in financial sector development and in macroeconomic management. The conference was opened by Dr. Shahid Amjad Chaudhry, Rector Lahore School of Economics. Researchers from PIDE, Quaid-e-Azam University, NUST, IBA Karachi, IBM Karachi, LUMS, Lahore School of Economics and media
as well as a number of international universities participated in the conference.
The first session covered matters concerning macroeconomic management and the role and effectiveness of instruments of fiscal and monetary policies in controlling inflation while ensuring growth. The second session included papers that evaluated the impact of financial sector reforms on the efficiency and effectiveness of financial inter-mediation and in reducing financial repression. The issues of the linkages between financial sector performance and monetary policy were the focus of the third session, while capital markets, their governance and performance were discussed in the fourth session. The last session brought together a group of international academics to discuss development experiences in other growing countries and their relevance for Pakistan.
The papers presented at the conference and the discussions held shed light on the policies and practical measures that can help the country to develop an effective monetary management system and an efficient and inclusive financial sector, for supporting sustainable growth in the future.
Related: In depth coverage of Lahore School Seventh Annual Conference
Labels: Economy, Lahore School of Economics
posted by S A J Shirazi @ Saturday, May 07, 2011,
Zafar Iqbal Durrani
Valima celebration of Hashim’s son was held at Jade Hall of the Arena, Karachi. All members from of Karachi Chapter of 55 PMA Long Course (less Tariq Zaidi and Zahir Khan) attended. What is more, Akhter Nawaz Janjua was also there. And that made Walima asa mini get together for 55 PMA.
Labels: 55 PMA, Men At Their Best
posted by S A J Shirazi @ Wednesday, May 04, 2011,
Pakistan, perhaps the world’s greatest victim of terrorism, joins the other targets of al-Qaeda — the people of the United States, Britain, Spain, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Turkey, Yemen, Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Algeria — in our satisfaction that the source of the greatest evil of the new millennium has been silenced, and his victims given justice. He was not anywhere we had anticipated he would be, but now he is gone.
Although the events of Sunday were not a joint operation, a decade of cooperation and partnership between the United States and Pakistan led up to the elimination of Osama bin Laden as a continuing threat to the civilized world. And we in Pakistan take some satisfaction that our early assistance in identifying an al-Qaeda courier ultimately led to this day.
Let us be frank. Pakistan has paid an enormous price for its stand against terrorism. More of our soldiers have died than all of NATO’s casualties combined. Two thousand police officers, as many as 30,000 innocent civilians and a generation of social progress for our people have been lost. And for me, justice against bin Laden was not just political; it was also personal, as the terrorists murdered our greatest leader, the mother of my children. Twice he tried to assassinate my wife. In 1989 he poured $50 million into a no-confidence vote to topple her first government. She said that she was bin Laden’s worst nightmare — a democratically elected, progressive, moderate, pluralistic female leader. She was right, and she paid for it with her life.
Some in the U.S. press have suggested that Pakistan lacked vitality in its pursuit of terrorism, or worse yet that we were disingenuous and actually protected the terrorists we claimed to be pursuing. Such baseless speculation may make exciting cable news, but it doesn’t reflect fact. Pakistan had as much reason to despise al-Qaeda as any nation. The war on terrorism is as much Pakistan’s war as as it is America’s. And though it may have started with bin Laden, the forces of modernity and moderation remain under serious threat.
My government endorses the words of President Obama and appreciates the credit he gave us Sunday night for the successful operation in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa. We also applaud and endorse the words of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that we must “press forward, bolstering our partnerships, strengthening our networks, investing in a positive vision of peace and progress, and relentlessly pursuing the murderers who target innocent people.” We have not yet won this war, but we now clearly can see the beginning of the end, and the kind of South and Central Asia that lies in our future.
Only hours after bin Laden’s death, the Taliban reacted by blaming the government of Pakistan and calling for retribution against its leaders, and specifically against me as the nation’s president. We will not be intimidated. Pakistan has never been and never will be the hotbed of fanaticism that is often described by the media.
Radical religious parties have never received more than 11 percent of the vote. Recent polls showed that 85 percent of our people are strongly opposed to al-Qaeda. In 2009, when the Taliban briefly took over the Swat Valley, it demonstrated to the people of Pakistan what our future would look like under its rule — repressive politics, religious fanaticism, bigotry and discrimination against girls and women, closing of schools and burning of books. Those few months did more to unite the people of Pakistan around our moderate vision of the future than anything else possibly could.
A freely elected democratic government, with the support and mandate of the people, working with democracies all over the world, is determined to build a viable, economic prosperous Pakistan that is a model to the entire Islamic world on what can be accomplished in giving hope to our people and opportunity to our children. We can become everything that al-Qaeda and the Taliban most fear — a vision of a modern Islamic future. Our people, our government, our military, our intelligence agencies are very much united. Some abroad insist that this is not the case, but they are wrong. Pakistanis are united.
Together, our nations have suffered and sacrificed. We have fought bravely and with passion and commitment. Ultimately we will prevail. For, in the words of my martyred wife Benazir Bhutto, “truth, justice and the forces of history are on our side.”
The writer is the president of Pakistan.
posted by S A J Shirazi @ Tuesday, May 03, 2011,