Perhaps the most ancient of games, When history was a legend,
we find polo flourishing. Twelve hundered years ago the
persians were playing it, and the Chinese maintain that
their ancestors played it thousands of years ago.
Polo can be called an indigenous game of this country, as
it has been played in India for centuries, and has produced
some of the finest players in the world, whose names have
become a household word to all sport-lovers.
Originally Polo was played in Gilgit, Chitral and Manipur
in India. The game flourished during the Moghul period,
and was a popular sport with the Emperors,who called it
"Chougan" . Emperor Akbar, who made it popular
in Agra, which was then the capital, was the first of the
Moghuls, to introduce certain rules and regulations for
There is evidence on record to
show that with the advent of the British Army in India, Polo in
its present form was introduced by the officers of a British
Cavalry Regiment stationed in the country in the seventies of the
last century. Polo was then played on small ponies, as a result
of which the game was not of high speed. After world War - I,
international rules were framed, which all countries accepted and
now it is played under those rules, everywhere.
Miniature Painting of
Rajput Princesses playing "Chougan"(Polo), during
the medievial period.
Polo thrived under the Patronage of the Mughal Emperors
and Rajput Kings.
The Indian Polo Association was formed in the year 1892, a time
when there were many clubs, patronized and endorsed by the princes
of modern India. Among the most prominent teams were those of
Jaipur, Alwar, Bhopal, Bikaner, Hyderabad, Patiala, Jodhpur, Kishangarh
and Kashmir were some of the prominent ones.Some of the well -
known army teams were those of the Indian and British cavalry
Regiments,e.g. : The 15th Lancers, The Central India Horse, and
the P.A.V.O. Cavalry. The Inniskilling Dragon Guards, The 17/21st
Lancers, The 10th Royal Hussars. In the early years of the last
century the greatest contribution towards raising the standard
of the game came from Rajputs & Sikhs. Superb horsemen, the
members of these teams were also noted for excellence of their
stick-work and horse control .
the Early Royal teams with the Cup
In 1933, the famous Jaipur Team
established a unique and an unbeaten record till date, by winning
all the open tournaments in the United Kingdom and the Indian
Championship successively from the year 1930 to 1938.
With the interruption
caused by the Second World War, and the mechanization of the Cavalry
regiments, the game suffered a severe set back in the 1940's.
So,in the Indian context, the whole burden of reviving Polo and
maintaining the grounds fell on the Indian Polo Association. It
was considered that the best way to popularize the game and to
revive it , was to invite a foreign team, which would play exhibition
matches at different places across the country. In 1950, the Argentine
Polo team was invited to come and take part in our tournaments
in Jaipur, Delhi and Bombay, and we also staged exhibition matches-
Argentine versus India. In 1955, the Pakistan Army Polo team was
invited in the same series of events. Both these visits were of
great significance to Polo in our country and the game was once
again put on the map. As a result Jaipur, Delhi, Calcutta and
Bombay started holding tournaments. In this Calcutta took the
lead, Polo being a popular game with the sports-loving people
PAKISTAN - 1955
Khan, Brig. M.M.A. Baig, Maj. Gen. Nawabzada Sher Ali, Gen.
Mohammad Yusuf Khan, Dr. Rajendra Prasad H.E.President of
India, His Highness Maharaja of Jaipur, Kr. Hari Singh,
Capt. Kishan Singh and Capt. T.N.Katkar
In the year 1957,
India sent an official polo team to take part in the World Championships
in France comprising of Major Kishan Singh, Kr. Bijay Singh, Rao
Raja Hanut Singh and H.H. Maharaja of Jaipur. India won, beating
all other combinations which included many great players from
England, Argentina, Spain, Mexico and France. In 1956, after a
lapse of 17 years, owing to the II World War, the Indian Polo
Championship was revived and has since been played regularly at
a game of ATTITUDE!!