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Kang Shanaba

Kang Shanaba is an indigenous Manipuri game played on the day between Manipur's New Year's Day and the Ratha Jatra festival. There are tales, both legendary and mythological, that claim that Kang was played by gods and goddesses, soon after the earth was created. The simple version is that kang literally means, a round object, hence pushing or throwing it, is called Kang Shanaba. Kang is the seed of a creeper, which was the original object of play, which was later substituted by a kang made of lac. At present, the kang is an oval object made of lac or lead with a spot of ivory in the middle, the shape and size of which are now laid down in the book of rules. The target, too, has been standardised and has to adhere to a certain shape, size and weight.

How the game is to be played

Manipuris believe that the Kang playing - field represents the ' Field of Life '. The seven players on either side, represent the seven days of the week. The chekphei and lamtha kangkhul are 15 in number on one side and both sides represent 30 days, making a complete month. The first chekphei stands for darkness and the second chekphei represents the day. With the start of the game, the lamtha should be pushed by each player along his own tract ( kangkhul ), in the correct direction. When the kang crosses the last boundary, it crosses the boundary of life, and a player who does this in the course of play is considered dead ( shiba ), for a particular type of push. On either side of the rectangular court there is an outer and inner line - 42 ft in length and 16 1/2 ft in breadth. The outer line is called lamtha kangkhul and has seven target points. The inner line, called chekphei kangkhul, has eight target points. The game's duration is 4 1/2 hours, with an interval of 5 mins. At the conclusion of the first half of play - 2 hrs. 15 mins, the teams change sides.

Each player should possess his own kang. Players are not allowed to use each other's kangs, except in a special case, by the decision of the referee. Each team, called a kangkhut, comprises seven players each. The kang to be used in pushing or throwing is called the kangkap. The kang to be fixed as the target is called the kangkhil. The face of the kangkhil is to be clearly marked, to distinguish it from its obverse side. The court is rectangular with an area of 36' by 16 1/2', and is divided into four sub - courts. The lines to targets are called kangkhinpham liri, while the actual boundary is called liri. The game of Kang begins with a chekphei, which involves the player throwing the kang from a standing position, keeping the hand without the kang between his thighs. For lamtha the player pushes the kang from sitting position. In lamtha, if any intermediate player hits his target, he has to play again, crosswise, this is called Marak Changba. The number of throws and pushes, as well as the number of hits on the target make up the score. The score - board will record the name of the teams, score, chekphei, and valid and invalid hits, either to the right or left. The side with the most hits, wins.

A point is scored when hitting the kangkhul ( target point ) by two chekpheis and one lamtha continuously. This method is to be adhered to strictly, throughout the game. Each player is given just one opportunity to throw in the prescribed manner. The striking of the target in lamtha is a complex process. Should the striking kang cross the last boundary line, it is known as shiba in the case of two outer tracks and hanba in the case of five interior tracks. If the kang does not cross the last boundary, it is considered a score in the case of the outer two tracks. And in the case of the five interior tracks, it is known as nandaba. Any player occupying a position in the interior five tracks, has to push a lamtha and has to perform another cross - push of the kang, to get a score. This move is known as marak changba.

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