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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Traditional Marma “Dha Khela” has spiritual elements

By Jasim Majumder / Khagrachhari, May 3, 2009

The traditional sport "Dha" is very popular among the indigenous Marma youth as it sharpens their intellect, boosts confidence and imparts the qualities of discipline and perseverance. 

According to Marma elders, Dha Khela dates back at least 500 years. It is believed to have its origins in Burma, present day Myanmar. However, there is little documentation on this old sport. Marma Leader Babusshi Chowdhury told The Daily Star correspondent that the game has three parts that correspond to the three stages of life: childhood, professional life and old age.

Thus Dha Khela is first played by throwing a disc (local name Guti) with the chest or foot to the touch line. According to the older Marmas this means that Marma youth devote themselves to following the path of honesty in their lives. The second stage is to drop the Guti as far as possible to the touch line. The second stages translate into the fact that the younger Marmas are on the right track following their early learning. They are strictly maintaining discipline to ensure professional success.The third stage is to finally touch the destination. This means that those who are able to touch the goal line will achieve success. However, say the old timers, the success rate is dependent on the adroit techniques of the young.

Bangladesh Marma Sangathan Oikyo Parishad advisor Mrasathowai Marma said that he was not entirely aware of the origins of Dha Khela. However, he went on to say, the ancient game incorporated spiritual elements.The president of the same organisation, Kongchairi Master, told The Daily Star correspondent that Dha Khela is a means of enhancing children's practical skills and makes them confident adults.

Khagrachhari Hill District Council (KHDC) chairman, Ruhity Karbary said that Dha Khela, with its religious component helps the Marma people to make a success of their lives.


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