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Camel-fighting a Cholistani tradition

January 29, 2003


SADIQABAD, Jan 28: A camel-fighting Mela was arranged in Gulshan-i-Fareed (Chak 152/7-R) near Firoza Town along the Cholistan belt from Jan 13 to 15.

The sponsors have decided to arrange the event also held in January last year on an annual basis in view of the enthusiasm generated by it.

The main sponsor of the Mela, Rais Allah Diwaya, said that camel-fighting was one of the most attractive aspects of the life of Cholistanis and an integral part of the rich cultural heritage of the rural folk scattered along the Indian border.

The people arrange camel-fighting to enjoy themselves and forget their miseries due to natural calamities like drought.

The occasion provides the inhabitants of Rohi with an opportunity to relax and regain the strength required for their relentless struggle for survival in the desert.

The inhabitants of Cholistan are either agriculturists, cattle-traders or hunters.

Hunters had a good source of income in the form of rare species of birds until their activities were severely restricted by the government.

Agriculture mainly depends on rain. The supply of irrigation water remains suspended for better part of the year, adversely affecting both the Rabi and Kharif crops. Temporary arrangements like Tobas are no more sufficient to cater for the growing needs of localities.

Some of the inhabitants resort to smuggling and cross over to the Indian territory in a bid to lessen their misery.

Camels are also one of their major sources of income. Some breeds are worth hundreds of thousands of rupees.

The sponsors of camel-fighting hoped that the government would also patronise the cultural heritage of Cholistan. With provision of basic amenities, the locality could also become a beautiful oasis in the desert, they added.