India has never been a sports intensive nation. Yet, sports has always carved out its own space-be it under the Mughal era, during the struggle for independence, through the license raj, in the liberalization period, to the present day Global India.
Interestingly, the objective behind sports training changed from time to time. In this day and age, we speak the language of Olympic Medals and Grand Slams. However, during the pre-independence nationalist movement, the reason to pursue physical training was more existential. Young Indians were mobilized across the country to practice sports, to be able to stay fit and to fight every atrocity that was perpetrated on fellow countrymen by British.
It is interesting to know that there have always been people who’ve gone out of their way to promote and propagate sports in the country. In Bengal, the torch bearer for sports and physical training in the pre-independence era, was a lady called Sarala Devi Chaudhurani. She arranged for the training of youth in activities like Lathi, Swordplay, Boxing, Wrestling etc. in her own house under the supervision of Prof. Mortaza and the noted revolutionary Pulin Das. She came up with the idea of celebrating Mahashtami day of Durga Puja as Birashtami, signifying a tribute to the spirit of power and strength. The day was celebrated by holding competitive demonstrations of sports like Martial Arts, Swordplay, Wrestling, etc. People used to travel to Kolkata for the event and those who couldn’t, held similar competitions in their respective localities. She also founded an academy in South Kolkata in which sports like Martial Arts, Fencing and Jiu-Jitsu were taught by Prof. Mortaza. Her idea was to infuse the spirit of fearlessness and confidence among the youth for them to fight tooth and nail with the British.
On the occasion of India’s 70th Independence Day, we, at EduSports, are doing our best to fight obesity, anxiety and depression among children through Sports and Physical Education to build healthier and fitter generation.
Let’s Play India!