Bull Race

By: Rehmat Ali Tunio

When the one's favorite bull wins the race , sounds like  “Aayo Aayo Badshah Aayo” “Ali Ali Hyder,  Asan jo khati Aayo khair san Ho Jamalo”dancing, thunderous clapping, shouting, drums beat (Dholes)  follow the clapping, roars and also chants set the mood of the all spectators in the crowed, and also attract the other passers-by to see the competition.  Everybody sit; stand enthusiastically awaiting the approaching thrill of the competition.     If you think surfing, snowboarding and the oxen race (Spain's oldest and traditional game, in which people run with holding a red cloth in their hands in front of the bulls.) are extreme sports, then you probably never seen what happens in Pakistan during traditional bovine races, it involves bulls, a board(wooden plank) and drift.
Tens of thousands of people gather whenever there is bull race held in Sindh. We see the competition of bull race in many parts of country, but there is different joy of race when it is in Sindh. It is very famous in our different districts, Especially in Larkana, Nawabshah and Sanghar, where these competitions have been held regularly.
People say that Bulls race is as old as Bull domesticated for cultivation purposes. Besides Sindh and Punjab this race is quite live in some parts of India as well. In Bull race, there are two to four bull's pair, wooden planks/ carts are tied to the every pair of the Bulls, and the jockey (rider) stands on the plank/cart and then pushes the pair to run. In this, there is no any risk to lose the live.   
       When I went to a race held near Taluka Warah, the crowed starts gathering along the boundary when Bulls are carried to the area (a large field) with great pomp and show. When the race started, the spectators started  roaring chants, shouting and the clapping, at that time the whole environment became as we have entered in the new world which is full of colors, happiness, enjoyment and the thrilling moments. Watching a bunch of oxen running alongside each other might not be your idea of a fun time, but add a man on ridding a board on a dirty track to guide the animals and things become pretty exciting. Four people who were talk of the field, first the jockey (rider) who stood on the cart for driving the Bulls to the end. Second was, starter signaled to start the race by saying “ALLAH TOHAR”. Third were those holding the bulls at the starting point(also called them in Sindhi “JHALRHOO” and wait for the call (ALLAH TOHAR) which is given by the starter, last one was “AMANI” umpire stood at the finishing point, who observed which pair of Bulls Were ahead at the end.  You know the names of Bulls were quite interesting, TIKO, ROCKET, GOLI, PAKHI.
In this race, involve two kinds of Bulls namely as MUNNI (owner's) and Suwalli (buyer's). The real competition is always happens between the MUNNIS.  On the special occasion like EID or some kind of fair, Bulls race becomes more interesting because it involve multiple pairs for race. Although its culture people run Bulls for entertainment purpose but now days gambling has become part of this race. However, with all good, bad aspects, bull race still goes on.