My Home. My ‘karmbhoomi’. The region, the field that has defined me into what I am today.
As many emotions as it brings from me, Chhattisgarh Archery is something that has been close to me, my heart and its interests are reflected in my actions & has always guided my efforts. I am compelled to write about it today because I see it in ruins and with only 1 past glory to account for & every future potential going waste.
Let me begin from the beginning, as I know it to be.
Modern day Chhattisgarh Archery began its roots from Teklal Purrey. Staying in Bilaspur, Teklal was attracted to the sport & alongwith Chandrashekhar Baghel & Adarsh Khandekar, in 1999, he participated in the All India Inter University Tournament, in Trivandrum, Kerala. It is a legendary story that has been told in the Chhattisgarh Archery circuit for a very long time. Their bows were of a single piece bamboo. Teklal stands at a lean 5’10” & the bows were a feet longer than him. The string was of gear-wire, without any sighting or arrow resting attachments. They had cut out TV antennae to make arrows, and they’d visit the nearby poultry to buy wings for fletching. When they went ahead for their equipment inspection at the tournament, the judges didn’t know how to react to the equipment. They were wondering what to do because the equipment was nowhere close to what competitive archery equipment has become & the standards do not allow Teklal & Co.’s equipments to be allowed. After they were allowed to shoot, Teklal’s first arrow hit the rear leg of tripod target stand & the target collapsed. 🙂 hahahaha… This was , perhaps, the first target collapse in the history of Indian Archery.
Amidst these stories, years passing by & the chaos that has followed, I personally feel that Teklal, Chandrashekhar, Adarsh & Arvind Soni are the foundation on which Chhattisgarh archery began its journey.
I entered the Chhattisgarh Archery scene in a quiet, reclusive manner in 2002-03. I was passing near the railway station & I saw some archers practicing on the field & I came to know that the selection trials would be held later in the day, for Inter-University Archery Tournament. Out of curiosity, I went, shot a few arrows, not even knowing how to shoot & won a place in the GGDU team going to Chandigarh.