A mysterious game of polo in Hyderabad

Why was the police action in Hyderabad named Operation Polo? According to some reports, Hyderabad was a very important center of the Polo match during the pre-independence Nizam era. There were more than 17 polo grounds and 7 horse racing courses in and around the two cities of Hyderabad and Second Labad. Therefore, Hyderabad was widely associated with the game of Polo.

According to Siraj Attachari, a seasoned polo player who later became the South Zone Steward of the Indian Polo Association, Hyderabad was a major hub for equestrian events in India from 1876 to 1910. When I told siasat.com, he explained: -Ul Umrah of the Paiga family who promoted and developed Polo in Hyderabad since 1877. No other state in India had the infrastructure for horseback riding events that Hyderabad had at the time. “

“The famous aristocrat was a man who traveled extensively and was invited to England by Queen Victoria in 1877, where she invited her to witness a Polo match after having lunch at the famous Windsor Castle. He immediately fell in love with the game when he saw an action-packed contest. After returning to England, he bought 50 Arab horses and roped them from Rajastan and Punjab to the best trainers. He began to develop the sites of Hyderabad and Second Rabad, making the two cities major polo centers throughout India.

“Everyone was surprised when Viqar-ul-Umra’s Paigah team won the Bombay Presidency Open Championship. Soon, British troops in Second Lavado formed their own team with great enthusiasm. Famous Polo and other British officers such as General Beauvoir De Lisle, Captain Kuru Sickness, Charles Goff helped develop the game. Sir Kitchner, Sir Winston Churchill, Count Mount Batten, etc. Famous historical people have played Polo in the British Army, “says Shiraji.

The magazine records that Churchill’s team participated in a tournament in Hyderabad in November 1896. The prize was a silver trophy of 1000 rupees (a huge amount at that time). His team won the trophy, and the next day he wrote to his mother, saying:
“In the final match against the native team, we cheered on all the goals, but in the end we witnessed 9000 natives who were terribly disappointed.”

Syrage continues as follows: “Polo was very popular and had polo tournaments even in the middle of the summer. Viqar-ul-Umra held a polo tournament for the royal family. The best ever in Hyderabad. The player was Shah Mirza Baig with a handicap of 9. Then players like Shamsheer Ali (handicap 5) and Basheer Ali played in Hyderabad Chougan. “

For those who don’t know Polo’s handicap, it’s a system designed to evenly match teams. Players are rated on a scale from minus 2 to 10. Minus 2 is a beginner, but a player with a handicap of 10 is one of the best players in the world. In short, the Shah Mirza Baig with a handicap of 9 was almost at the highest level in the world.

Siraj said: “Sir Mahboob Ali Khan, Hyderabad’s sixth Nizam, was very attracted to the game and very passionate about Polo. The current Malakpet Racecourse initially had a Polo match. It was Mahboob Manzil’s. Part of the site, Nizam himself saw its development first for Polo and then for horse racing. It is now one of the top racetracks in India and hosts prestigious events. “

“The main polo grounds of Second La Bird were on the still-existing Bison Polo Grounds, opposite the old racetrack near Begumpet Airport, Bora Lamb, and the parade grounds. The important grounds of Hyderabad are the Farak Numa Palace with its stables. , Spacious grounds to house the 6th Nizam Polo Pony, then near Fatemaidan (before it was called Larva Hadur Shastry Stadium), Sham Shabad, Massab Tank, Sanzi Bia Park, one administrative staff It’s close to the university, and the two are in Galkonda, in addition to a few others, “said Siraj.

“There were many well-known teams. They were the Nizam team, the Salah Jung team, the Nizam Army team, the British Regiment team, and the Prince of Berard’s Polo Club. He was one of the 50 top polo pony from Argentina. However, in 1955 the prince began to focus on horse racing rather than polo, so the game suffered. The reputed Gorkonda Polo team was closed. ” Said.

“But polo enthusiasts such as Maj. Gen. Nawab Kuslo Jung, Nawab Mehdi Nawaz Jung, and Ata Ul Rahman formed the Andhra Pradesh Riding Club in 1956 with government support. The polo season was held regularly until 1958, when there was a gap, and then resumed until 1962, but in 1974 it was the highest-level army officer, KS, who made a major comeback. Maj. Gen. Bajuwa. The AP Riding Club was also backed by then-IPA steward Maharaja Prem Singh. Maharaja spent several months in Hyderabad each year training young people to play the game. The Arts Association was founded in 1972 and has been recognized by its Polo team, “explains Siraj.

“But again the activity stopped and there was no polo from 1985 to 1993. Then in 1994 I started commanding the polo season again, and I also sponsored and the 61st Cavalry and President’s Bodyguard. I put a rope on a big team like this, “Shiraji said.

“Over the seasons, we ran the polo tournament with great success. There was a lot of media coverage not only on TV channels, but in all local and national daily newspapers. But again, due to various factors, it was Stopped. Now the army wants me to run the tournament again. They asked me to restart Polo in Hyderabad. I’ve given it some serious thoughts. I need to make a lot of plans, but it may happen again in the near future, “said Shiraji.

Abhijit Sen Gupta is a veteran journalist who writes about sports and a variety of other themes.

https://www.siasat.com/the-mysterious-game-of-polo-in-hyderabad-2240775/ A mysterious game of polo in Hyderabad

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