In villages which formed the first habitation of civilised man rural punjabi sports grew out of sheer necessity. The need for cultivating individual strength for labour on the fields, the interdependence within the community and need of defence, joint defence against onslaughts of a common foe and dangerous animals must have given birth to punjabi sports like wrestling, running, jumping, weightlifting and such performing arts as of measuring strength by holding wrists, twisting hands. like Kabaddi which is another expression of the same spirit has become the mother of games in Punjab .
In order to toughen the frames and steel the minds of his followers Guru Hargobindji had started the tradition of holding wrestling bouts within the precincts of Akal Takht Sahib and it is mostly because of the fillip that he gave and the seal of ethics that he put on them that punjabi sports become a proud facet of life in Punjab. On the common grounds of villages, in the fairs, during the festivals, at the hermitages of pirs, graves of preceptors, wrestling became a part of high recreation. Villages adopt and feed wrestlers and also give prizes to them as a matter of honour in Punjab today.
During the Hola Mohalla celebrations at Anandpur Sahib tent pegging competitions, archery, fencing and riding competitions, gymnastic and acrobatic displays which the Nihangs put up and the tournaments held at Diwali have a hoary history. To the Punjabis goes the distinction of organising rural games into tournaments.
Almost sixty years ago when the Grewal punjabi Sports Association had begun to hold competitions in rural punjabi sports at Village Quilla Raipur little would have anyone thought that this tournament will become a movement in Punjabi sports.
Today in almost 7000 villages in Punjab in one decade or the other rural competitions are being held. Rural folk organise them. It is they who extend all hospitality to the competitors also. In fact these village punjabi sports have opened the floodgates of village development.
Before Independence in 1947 major importance was given only to Kabaddi and wrestling, after Independence the circle of rural punjabi sports also got widened. The rustic "Khido Khoondi" (literally a ball made out of cuttings of cloth and a stick twisted at the end like a flat hockey blade) was replaced by proper hockey and players from villages, having no facilities beyond uneven grounds to play began to dominate in the game. Twelve of our country's greatest hockey players have come out of a single village called SANSARPUR in Jalandhar District. Recently not only revival of punjabi sports fairs has taken place in but their number has also increased tremendously. Twenty years ago, for instance, their number was limited.
• Shikar-Macchian di-Parewi,
• Quilla Raipur's sports,
• Munun-honey-di-Chhinj etc.
Now punjabi sports meets are held almost in every significant village in Punjab .
Following the Kila Raipur Rural punjabi Sports meet the Kalgidhar Tournament of Kamalpur has also completed half-a-century. Dhudike's Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial has completed three decades. Gujarwal, Mullanpur, Sahnewal, Ghungali Rajputtana Hambla., Dhamto are flourishing. The -small punjabi sports meets of Lalto Kalan, Dhurkot, Rauni, Dyalpur, Rurka Kalan, Bhinder Kalan, Duare-ana are gaining stature day by day.
Three types of competitions are held during rural punjabi sports meets, Purely rural punjabi games : Kabaddi, Wrestling, Weight-lifting etc. Modern punjabi sports like athletics, hockey, football, volleyball, cycling, handball etc. Performing punjabi sports like acrobatics, twisting an iron-rod by placing it on Adam's apple, passing tractor over the rib-ease, cracking a big stone by placing it on the chest etc. Now another colour is also being added to these punjabi sports fairs. They have got intermixed with folk singing when sun sets after the days competitions the notes of music begin to emanate and singing continues, sometimes, late in the night. Music contest that was held between Karamjit Dhuri and Jagmohan Kaur at Kila Raipur is still fondly remembered. At the Gujarwal Meet the singing of Parminder Sandhu, Hans Raj Hans and Surinder Chhinda and at fairs of Majha region the notes o Toombi (one-stringed instrument) of Amarjit remain fixed in the minds of the people.
Villagers are not just fond of their own competitions they also like to size-up the skill and power of their animals like bulls, horses, dogs on the punjabi sports ground. Bullockcart racing has become a passion in Punjab . Because of a ban on hunting, hound-races are held in Punjab by dangling a bait of fake hare before them. At places cock-fights are also held and pigeon fights are contested. In some parts of Punjab people indulge in fighting a bull by barehands.
Rural punjabi Sports are a personification of the virility of Punjabi sports.
One of the popular organized forms of work and entertainment for young girls is Tirinjen - where the girls spin and sing. Tirinjen is a kind of social club, which can be organized in any home, where place for spinning wheels and the girls is available for a day/night. The girls would sing and dance, would express their sorrow and happiness, pangs of separation and joy of meeting. The spinning wheel plays a significant role in the life of the women, as a companion, counselor in distress, friend and guide. An example of a song sung by a married girl during Tirinjen:
Charkha mera rangla, vich sone dian mekhan, i mai tenu yaad karan, jad charkhe wal dekhan. y spinning wheel is multi colored nlaid with nails of gold,I think of you henever I see my spinning wheel. ar charkhe de gere ad awen toon mitra ach circle of the wheel, rings your sweet memories to my mind.
'Teej' or Teeans, which is celebrated in the month of Sawan (July), is also a source of entertainment for girls. Teej festival starts on the third day of Sawan and continues for about thirteen days. This is a period when rainy season is at its best, having said good bye to the scorching heat, people are out to enjoy the rains. It is also the time for sowing. The whole atmosphere is relaxed and people have a sigh of relief. The girls celebrate it by having swings. One sees girls, even today, on the swings all over the villages during the rainy season. They have new clothes, special dishes to eat and special songs for the occasion. This festival has also made inroads into the urban society. A number of songs are sung during the occasion pertaining to various aspects of the social life.
Ral auo sahio ni,
Sabh tian khedan jaiye
Hun aya sawan ni
Pinghan piplin ja ke paiye
Pai ku ku kardi ni,
Sahio koel Hanju dolhe
Papiha wekho ni,
Bherha pee-pee kar ke bole.
Paye pailan pande ni,
Bagi moran shor machaya.
Arhio khil khil phaulan ne,
Sanu mahia yad kariya.
Come on all friends!
Let's go and play Tian,
The Sawan Heartens us,
Let us hang the swings on the Peepal.
Swinging ku-ku O friends!
The cuckoo sheds its tears
And behold this Papiha
Which goes on singing pia-pia.
The peacock dances gleefully
Filling the garden with its crowings
These wretched blossoming flowers
Remind us of our Ranjan.
This is another , basically for women. Two girls clasp their hands and move in circle. This was a punjabi game, which was played by two or four girls and multiple of two thereof.
Kikli kleer di,
Pag mere vir de,
Daupatta mere bhai da
Phitte mun jawai da
This is another punjabi game, Some pebbles, stones or broken earthenware could be broken further into pieces and used for playing Gheeta Pather. This was a game, which did not involve running or jumping and was played sitting on the floor.
This is another punjabi game, The girls would sing along with Khidu (Ball), in fact these rhymes and game is suitable for the children: This was for the first round, there was the second and third till the end was reached by counting ten and singing the tenth song.
This is another punjabi game, This punjabi game is popular even today amongst the children. Both boys and girls play it. Children sit in a circles and a child who has cloth in hand goes around the circle-singing: It is a kind of warning for the children sitting in a circle not to look back. The cloth is then dropped at the back of a child. If it is discovered before the child who had placed it there had completed the round, the child who discovered the cloth would run after him and try to touch him with it till he sits in the place vacated by the one who had discovered the cloth.
This is another punjabi game, This punjabi game is for both boys and girls. It is generally played by two teams and involves drawing as many vertical lines as possible.
This is another punjabi game, This was also played by both boys and girls and continues to this day. Two teams can also play this. One has to hide, the other has to seek but before doing it a call is given.
This is basically a punjabi game for the boys and is the simplest version of modern cricket. It is played with a wooden stick and 'guli' (another small wooden piece pointed at both the ends.) Two teams divide themselves, one throws the guli and the other team uses the danda- (stick) to strike it. There are various other that are played with Guli Danda.
This is a punjabi game played both by the girls and boys. It is still common amongst some of the children. This punjabi game is played with in small boundary (court), drawn on the ground and a piece of stone.
This is another punjabi game for the boys. One boy would bend and the other boys, may be one or two or three get on top of him, if he could bear the weight, he would win. In case he could not bear the weight and fell, he would lose.
This punjabi game is popular even today and is played now by both boys and girls. This was included in the Asian Games also and is popular all over south Asia . The game is played between two teams. A line is drawn between the two teams and each team would send a player across the line. If the player after crossing the line is able to touch a player of the opposite side and came back without being caught, the team doing so would win and a point was added to its score. This process by the player crossing the line has to be performed in a single breath. The team with higher score would be the winner
The men generally played this punjabi game. These day's women also participate in the game which is played by two teams. A line is drawn between the two teams, each having one end of the rope in its hands. The team, which is able to drag the other team to its side, is the winning team.
This is another punjabi game, These were very popular. Located near the well outside the village, sometimes near the temple. These were the places where the boys learnt wrestling from a Guru or Pehlwan-Wrestler.
This was also a part of the teaching in Akharas, where the boys learnt the use of weapons. Nihangs practice martial arts to keep up the traditions.
This is another punjabi game, It is now very much an urbanized game and is popular with the rural folks as well. It has now assumed an International character. Besides the punjabi games mentioned above, Chaupat, Shatranj (Chess), camel and bullockcart races, cock fights in addition to Kabutar bazi, chakore bazi and bater bazi are well known. LATTOO ( yo-yo), played mostly by the boys.