Skip to main content

Where archery is more than shooting arrows

Photo: Yangphel Archery
One lazy afternoon, a few years ago, I was watching an archery tournament with a foreigner. The game was played on imported, shiny compound bows and arrows. As the archers, men dressed in colorful outfits, celebrated karey hits almost after every minute or two, the foreigner and I had time to talk. We agreed and argued on some shooting matters, but one of his points went unanswered.

“Bhutanese people consider archery your national sport, but how many Olympic medals have your archers won?”

Well, I could give him no satisfactory answer back then because he reasoned that the aim of the archers everywhere is to hit the target and even Olympic archers shoot with the same aim. Very reasonable I thought. He went on to say that India has won 8 Olympic Gold for Field Hockey, her national sport. That he called is proving to the world that it is the truly the national sport. But very interestingly India is ranked only eighth in the world in its national game. And going by the foreigner’s argument the countries should be adjudged the best in their national sports. Is it necessary that we should shoot Olympic arrows and take pride or do we focus on the culture aspect of the sport?

And one thing that I construe from the foreigner’s point is that while we may play other foreign sports such as football, basketball, volleyballs, cricket, etc. in the country, it is not necessary for us to win in every tournament. Of course I am not saying winning is a problem. It is good to win. But even if we do not, I think it is perfectly alright, if we demonstrate good knowledge of the game and play in the right spirit. It is no shame not winning, but we should not make our size as an excuse for not trying and performing our best in every sporting event.

Now coming to archery, the whole world knows it is our national game and maybe it is high time that we prepare to bring home some medals to their supposed and apt roosting grounds. Let’s not keep on postponing for that moment to happen. We can and we must. And it is not impossible because our taekwondo squad has shown us it is possible.

In Bhutan, archery is more than a game, one Bhutanese has rightly pointed out for he reasons our way of life is contained therein. It is a game that we have inherited from our forefathers. Archery is a game that unites people from all walks of life. Whether you are a red scarf dasho or a white scarf peon, you are provided with the same number of arrows to shoot and the possibility of hitting the karey is same for all irrespective of one’s social status quo. And all the players have the equal right to celebrate. In that sense archery, one that’s recognized as our national sport since 1971 is truly a game that promotes the concept of social harmony and vibrant democracy.   

Bhutan Archery Federation (BAF) takes the responsibility to groom Bhutanese archers for international tournaments. Our archers have competed in a number of international tournaments, the recent one being the 16th Asian Games held in Guangzhou, China. In absence of trained national archery coaches, should we continue listening to outsiders’ remarks that we have no medal for our national sport? Isn’t it time that we invest in our national sport? Isn’t it time that we train our promising shooters and tap their talents?    

In Bhutan almost every second someone shoots an arrow and as the stakes go higher, for archers everyday is a competition. And all these happen on imported equipment.   But maybe it is time for us to redefine our national sport and shoot the arrows the way our ancestors did. Maybe it is time to declare popular archery of the day played on compound bows and arrows is in essence not our national game. Maybe it is time for us to declare our national sport is one that’s played on traditional bamboo bows and arrows and that ours is more than shooting arrows.

Maybe it is time for us to detach our form of shooting the target from the game played elsewhere and make ours one that stands for us and for our age old culture and traditions once and for all. Maybe it is time to hire archery experts and coaches to train our archers to shoot their arrows and hit in an Olympic style. Maybe it is time that we take stock of the situation and breed some more Olympic archers to promote a shooting Gold culture in Bhutan.

(P.S:- This piece featured in Bhutan Times, Sunday for sure, but I forget the date now

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

We killed our Golden Goose

One of our most significant events this year is that of Bhutan’s exporting of eggs to India. A few years ago, we were importing them – in truckloads. This goes to show that we have the potential to grow and progress as a country, provided we put in a little more effort and work harder. Did you know, Bhutan today has 422,648 hens and produces 251,678 eggs a day? 
In July 2016, Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) banned the import of chilies from India reasoning that the laboratory tests conducted confirmed presence of pesticides. And right there was our opportunity to grow on our own. The news was like winning a lottery and it sure was a boon to many a Bhutanese chili growers, as they now had ready market san competition from cheap chilies from across the border.

Then came the ‘off season’. That is when the price of chilies unreasonably shot up as high as Nu. 300-400 per kg. It was unreasonable and daylight robbery, many people protested. And then people took to the …

Can we build energy-efficient houses?

Before we know it, it is winter again! Almost! 
And like all winters this winter will be unforgivingly cold. Of course, some people think winter cold is far less severe than the extreme summer heat the likes of which you experience in Phuentsholing or Gelephu. The reason they give is that while you can dress in cool and warm clothes in winter to beat the cold, the summer heat has almost no solution. Being naked does not help. Fair argument, I must say, but some people who can afford air conditioners in their homes might argue that the answer to the summer heat is in installing the equipment. 
But I think the answers to both the extreme summer heat and unbearable winter cold rest with the energy efficiency of the buildings we live in. 
Rooms in some of our apartments are unusually tall that in order to change a fused electric bulb requires you to literally climb onto two or three tall tables stacked onto each other. It takes three to four solid men or women to hold these tables in place; …

A Vibrant Village

What is a vibrant village? What does it take to create one? Can a village vibrancy prevent and curb rural-urban migration?
A village is vibrant when it has happy and content people. A village is vibrant where content people help each other. A vibrant village is where everyone is involved in or concerned with building a strong community. Such a village is connected with a well-maintained road that provides farmers with access to the outside world. 
A vibrant village grows its food and has no need to import anything from outside. Such a village booms with economic activities and here farmers look beyond subsistence farming. That is not to inject greed; it is rather, to encourage hard-working people to work harder. These farmers have at their service useful and modern farming tools to ease their work on the farms. In a vibrant village, farmers have the right to harvest their crops without having to share them with wild animals. 
A vibrant village has adequate and modern day facilities. Ele…
01 09 10