Pull! Yes, pull the rassi till you drop dead! Lose or win, in this tug of war, all falls down! What an exhilarating game it is - the tug of war or the Rassa Kasi as it is popularly called in Hindi.
Once a major sport with a glorious history, Tug of War is a dying field in today's arena of sports in India, the reason being regional sports and their players were hardly awarded or given no importance.
“Athletes who are playing the regional sports need to be motivated. Schemes of scholarship, diet, jobs and basic amenities need to be introduced so that players get rewards for their hard work," said Madan Mohan, General Secretary of Tug of War Federation of India, speaking exclusively to newsnation.in
Also, with the emergence of other games, the Tug of War failed to get the chance it deserves to shine and garner the praise which other sports and sportsperson are getting.
The inspirational growth of cricket in India since Kapil Dev lifted the World Cup in 1983 overshadowed all other games.
However, in recent years, other games have also started to come in the limelight, be it the re-emergence of kabaddi after the success of Pro-Kabaddi league, badminton after the performance of show stealers like Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth, lawn tennis after the dominant years from Mahesh Bhupati, Leander Paes and Sania Mirza and many such games. Every sport is now getting the coverage it deserves.
The government took a great decision in introducing Khelo India School Games and it was a huge success. Khelo India included 16 sports in the list: Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Football, Gymnastics, Hockey, Judo, Kabaddi, Kho-Kho, Shooting, Swimming, Volleyball, Weighlifting and Wrestling. But one game which deserves a place in it was missing--the game was Tug of War.
Khelo India Games were started to start a sporting culture and to revive the passion among the youngsters. But the authorities didn’t feel that a game with such a history deserves a place in its disciplines.
Rassa Kasi is not a lost cause though, the Tug of War Federation of India, its authorities and the players from different states are fighting for its revival. They are participating in various state-organised tournaments, but at their own cost. They don’t receive eye-gobbling cheques, awards or amenities which athletes of other sports get. But the ‘never-die attitude’ will see it rise like all other sports. Any sport teaches you to fight back from conditions when you are down and no one is there to pick you up.
Surely, a sport which is played in every nook and corner of the neighborhood, at almost every out-door picnic, family gatherings and local sports days, Tug of War deserve the spotlight.
Athletes and the authorities does not need to knock every door to collect funds to organise a tournament. It deserves every other amenity which athletes of other sports get.
With the Tug of War Federation of India eyeing a spot in an upcoming tournament at Cape Town, South Africa, it's high time the sporting authorities take steps to revive the sport. It, indeed, needs a big stage to showcase its magic and worth.
Tug of War, its origin and growth in India
1. It’s one of the oldest sports to be played in the world.
2. The Federation of Tug of War in India was originally established in the city of Ghaziabad in the year 1958.
3. After gaining momentum, the Federation moved to the Tug of War International Federation for official recognition. It was thenaccepted as the Game Federation representing India.
4. In the 1980s, the fortunes of the Federation went south, and led by Gautam Kaul, IPS and Madan Mohan, a Delhi-based sports group took over.
5. In 1999, after continuous promotion of the game, an official move was made to get the Government of India to recognise the Tug of War Federation of India as the National Sports Federation which was previously instrumental in reviving this historical sport. The Indian government gave it a formal approval.
6. In its official recognition of the Tug of War Federation of India, the Government of India agreed to provide financial assistance for the promotion of the game in future.
7. Since then, media coverage and broadcast are alien things for Tug of War, such is the state that it is failing to get the minimum sponsorship required to conduct a tournament.