HYDERABAD: Fifty something Yousuf Khoso was quite happy after being adjudged runner-up in a horse riding competition held at the ground located off Hyderabad by-pass as part of Sindh Festival here on Thursday.
“It is the horse ‘Dilbar’ which won the race against me and its rider was Imran,” said Yousuf. He looks after around 40 to 45 horses of Mohammad Khan Junejo, head of the Junejo community from Sanghar district from where ‘Dilbar’ was brought.
“I have been taking care of horses and doing horse riding since the age of 15 in my village,” Khoso adds. He remarks that horses are taken care of well as it is his boss’s hobby. “Our horses need around four kg of millet along with ghee on a daily basis. We take it for riding for around eight to nine miles daily as part of exercise,” he says and recalls the horse needs massage after every morning exercise. Then, he says, it is given food.
“Horse keeping is my hobby. We take them to different ‘mellas’ (fairs held on urs of different spiritual personalities) and for contests,” adds Mohammad Khan Junejo, son of late PPP leader Shah Nawaz Junejo of Sanghar. Wearing an Ajrak’s turban, he points out that his father used to keep horses and this is how he inherited this hobby. “We give them special care as they need apple, milk and pure ghee,” he says.
Horse called ‘Toofan’ of one Raees Salam Khan Zardari said to be a relative of Asif Ali Zardari and ‘Toofan’ of one Ali Mardan Shah from Umerkot also won the races. The venue for the festival celebrations was the ground that was far away from the city centre.
Around 12 horses were part of the riding contest in different pairs. Each announcement followed a riding contest on a track in the ground as people gathered to watch the race excitingly. Besides, there were cattle contests.
Each bull was attached with two wheeler cart being commanded by a man on the same track. “Dharyal” — a Sindhi word for dacoit was the bull of one Mr Garho Khan Dahiri which won the race.
Stalls of agriculture engineering, agriculture research, small industries, poultry production and other departments were established on the occasion.
The programme ended at 2:30pm. One minute silence was observed in the memory of slain policemen in Karachi.
The celebrations proved to be a damp squib following the killing of 13 policemen in Karachi. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah was to attend the event. A concert was part of the celebrations with singers like Sanam Marvi, Taj Mastani, Hassan Jehangir, Shaman Mirali and comedian Qadir Bux Mitho to feature. But this had to be wound up, too.
Not so many people could turn up there as no local or private transport ply on the route to the venue.
Close to 2,500 policemen from the adjoining districts were deployed there for security. Most of them were seen complaining for non-provision of food to them after celebrations were abruptly wound up.
Sindh Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Jam Khan Shoro, political assistant to Sindh chief minister Jabbar Khan and PPP leaders Zahid Bhurgari, Amanullah Siyal and others were present besides Sindh Secretary Culture Saqib Soomro, Hyderabad Division Commissioner Jamal Mustafa Syed, Hyderabad range DIG Akram Naeem Bharoka, SSP Irfan Bahadur and Deputy Commissioner Nawaz Sohu.