Monday, 13 June 2011

Gatka to be recognised on a higher level.

The School Games Federation of India (SGFI) has incorporated the Indian martial art Gatka as a game in the National school games calendar 2011-12. Besides, the Punjabi University Patiala has also conceded to the proposal of the Gatka Federation of India (GFI) to host All India Inter-Varsity Gatka Championship during the first week of September.

Disclosing this Harcharan Singh Bhullar President GFI said that GFI is dedicated towards its efforts to standardize, popularize and revival of traditional martial art Gatka as a game in Punjab as well as in India similar to other games. Adding further he informed that GFI in collaboration with the Punjab Gatka Association (PGA), for the first time, has formulated and standardized in-depth Gatka Rules and Regulations Book for playing of Gatka game and providing training to the budding Gatkebaaz through workshops, seminars and camps under the new Gatka rules. "It is a humble effort to revive a forgotten and dying traditional martial art having a historical significance", he said.

Bhullar said that the Punjab Olympic Association (POA) has already recognised the PGA. The Department of Education Punjab has also incorporated the Gatka game into the Punjab schools, colleges and universities' sports calendars on the persistent appeals of PGA. He added that representations have also been sent by the GFI to Association of Indian Universities (AIU) to incorporate Gatka game into the AIU sports calendar from this academic year.

H.S.Bhullar presides over Gatka Association meeting
He lamented that till date the centuries old historical Gatka game had not been accorded due acknowledgment and recognition by the uccessive regimes. "We are passionately longing for to the States as well as Central Government to award due gradations of Gatka game certificates at par with the certificates of other games. This effort would be a delayed humble tribute to our beloved Gurus by the Governments, in reviving our time-honored martial art as it is the mother of all martial arts," said Mr Bhullar.

He informed that the PGA had constituted a Sikh Martial Art Research and Training Board (SMART Board) to grant scholarships to the aspiring research scholars doing Ph.D in the field of martial art, especially on Gatka in order to enrich the historical literature on Indian martial art.

Bhullar said that to provide universal access to Gatka game at national as well as international fora and promote a Gatka sports culture among both boys & girls the GFI and PGA has chalked out various programmes for the promotion and propagation of this Indian martial art. Adding further he said that GFI would organize national Gatka training-cum-seminar at New Delhi during next month to train the Gatka coaches, referees, judges and time scorers from all the States in which they would be imparted exhaustive training in theory and practical classes with the help of Power-Point-Presentations and Gatka training documentaries.

To put in place an effective mechanism to identify and nurture Gatka sporting talent in India the GFI would start Gatka training centers in all the states so that vibrant youth energy for Gatka activities and physical fitness could be channelized. The aspiring Gatkebaaz (men and women), who desires to become certified Gatka officials like referees, judges and technical advisors of the PGA, could join the training courses and camps.

He emphasized that Gatka sport also has the significance of an activity pursuing the ultimate limits of human potential. "On a social scale, it is a significant element in the sound development of the young and the generation of a sense of solidarity in local communities. It would also contribute to the national economy and promote friendly relations", Bhullar stressed.

Harjeet Singh Grewal General Secretary of GFI added that learning to defend, display of fighting art and the ability to have a greater self control, is the best part of the martial art Gatka. "It is also meant to enable youth to stay fit n' fine by keeping them away from drug abuse and other intoxicants to lead a disciplined life so that rich heritage of Punjab could be projected at global arena. Earlier, only the boys could be seen performing this art but now girls have also adopted it and are performing well, he said.

Grewal complemented that with the inclusion of Gatka into the general games, it had revolutionized the Indian martial art, which was earlier heading towards its distinction, and put it in the Northward trajectory to arise to the lost magnificence. He added that GFI has adopted the conventional sports uniform i.e. track suits as a new dress code for playing of Gatka game in all competitions.

It is mentioned here that Gatka game is a style of fighting only with sticks, intended to simulate the sword and focuses on infusing physical, spiritual and mental fitness. No sharp edged weapons are used in the transformed Gatka game. It is noteworthy that Gatka, the Indian traditional martial art form, is an art which was introduced to India around four thousand years ago by the Aryans and is the mother of all martial arts.

By Satinder Bains, SAS NAGAR, Punjabi Newsline, Sunday, 12 June 2011

Note: Shastarvidyia is the original name given to the martial arts of the Sikhs.

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