GUWAHATI, June 14 � Between the 1940s and 1960s, open spaces were available in all Guwahati areas. Those open spaces served as playgrounds for the children of the respective localities. The load of schoolbags and study was also lighter those days. This made it possible for the children to play till it was dusk.
But it was mandatory that the children should reach their homes as soon as it was dark. Then every elderly person of a Guwahati locality, or, its adjacent areas, was regarded to be the virtual guardian of the young ones. Such persons enjoyed the right to act as guardians of the young ones and this ensured discipline in the localities, said noted writer Kumudeswar Hazarika, an expert on old Guwahati matters.
Hazarika, who was speaking to this correspondent, said, �I spent my childhood in such a situation in a locality situated between Dighalipukhuri and Jorpukhuri, which is now known as Dighalipukhuri-Ambari area.�
He informed that during their childhood in the 1940s, children of their chuburi (locality) used to play at the courtyard of noted historian Dr Suryakumar Bhuyan, which was located by the north of the then Company Bagan Road (now Dr Suryakumar Bhuyan Road). The games played by Hazarika and his mates included haogududu (kabadi), luka bhaku (hide and seek), kukura juj (cock fight), panit parat (plunging and rising), among others.
When Dr Bhuyan temporarily shifted to a Cotton College hostel as its superintendent, the playmates of Hazarika started using the sprawling campus of veteran freedom fighter and senior Congress leader Md Tayebullah located on the Earl Road (now Md Tayebullah Road), on the eastern bank of the Dighalipukhuri. On this campus now stands three RCC apartments, said Hazarika.
�Initially, we boys and girls of almost the same age group used to play together. But when we reached class-IV, boys and girls were separated. We boys started playing football in the fields, while the girls were confined mainly to the indoor or in-campus playing activities. We then started taking part in the then popular �inchi cup� football competitions held at various places of old Guwahati.
�There were many football clubs in the Guwahati localities. They included the Uzanbazar Hindu Muslim Club, Ranibari Athletic Club, Panbazar Boys� Union, Yubak Sangha (now West Guwahati Club), Amateur Club of Machkhowa, Rajbari Athletic Club of Manipuri Basti, among others. These clubs used to play �inchi cup� football competitions and later took part in the Guwahati Senior Division Football League,� said Hazarika.
The Guwahati Senior Division Football League started in 1946. Many players like Lure Chetri, who were �inchi cup� debutants of their time, later represented the State in the Santosh Trophy, he said.
During their childhood, Hazarika said they also took part in the mass drill of Shisupran Nabin Sarma. On occasions, they also took part in the Maina Parijat activities. Maina Parijat was then led by noted poet Nalini Bala Devi. Its headquarter was located at the Uzanbazar Jorpukhuripar Shanti Bhawan of Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi. Its sprawling courtyard was the playground of the Maina Parijat.
Hazarika and his mates learnt how to play badminton at the badminton court of Late Surendranath Gohain and Late Gohain�s eldest son Budu Da was their badminton coach. The campus of the Gohains was located opposite Dr Bhuyan�s.