By: Jaswant Singh Puri
Late His Highness Shri Maharana Sahib of erstwhile princely state of Dholpur visited princely state of Patiala in the year 1889 and brought Ponies and Players pertaining to the game of Polo first time in erstwhile princely state of Patiala. There was no game of Polo before the visit of Late His Highness Shri Maharana Sahib of Dholpur state.
The Dholpur Polo team only practised the game of Polo during its brief stay at Patiala. At the time of departure from Patiala State ,Late His Highness Shri Maharana Sahib of Dholpur left two Polo players such as Shri Umrao Singh and Shri Inderbir Singh in Patiala for the promotion of Polo in Patiala state.
It was Late His Highness Maharaj-Adhiraj Rajinder Singh Ji authorize Late Raja Gurdit Singh to arrange game of Polo first time in Patiala state. This was how the game of Polo started at Patiala with the following Polo lovers such as Late His Highness Raja Gurdit Singh,two above mentioned Polo players from Dholpur state, General Pritam Singh, General Hira Singh, General Saroop Singh ,Sardar Sham Sher Singh ,Sardar Sewa Singh & General Chanda Singh.
It was in the year 1894 that the first match of Polo was played in Lahore by Late His Highness Maharaja Sahib of Patiala.The Polo team which played the first Polo match at Lahore comprised of Late His Highness,Raja Gurdit Singh and two aforementioned Polo players from the princely state of Dholpur.In the year 1895 the Polo match was repeated in Lahore by lucid Patiala Polo team
The aforementioned two Dholpur players were replaced by General Hira Singh & Bakshi Pritam Singh .The bright Polo team which consisted of Patialvis remained at its highest state till 1900.
It was in the year 1900 Late His Highness Raja Gurdit Singh was appointed VAZIR (High Official Position In Erstwhile Princely State of Patiala).General Chanda Singh replaced Late Raja Gurdit Singh in Patiala Polo team till His Highness Maharaja Dhiraj Sir Rajinder Singh Ji left for his heavenly abode .
The Patiala Polo team state of affairs deteriorated after the walking out of Late His Highness Maharaja Dhiraj Sir Rajinder Singh from this globe. The only two prominent Polo players like General Chanda Singh & Captain Thakara Singh were in Patiala Polo and the rest were old & outdated.
Fortunately Patiala Polo team was joined by young & dynamic Polo players named as General Joginder Singh & Colonel Jaswant Singh .After the joining of an aforementioned young & dynamic Polo players ,the Patiala Polo team once again become healthy & Powerful .The Patiala Polo team came out victorious for the first match in 1910 in Shimla which was a summer capital of British India. The Polo match in Shimla was won against an eminent K.D.G. with a promising demonstration .The Patiala Polo team in Shimla Polo match in 1910 composed of Colonel Jaswant Singh ,General Joginder Singh ,Captain Thakara Singh & General Chanda Singh .
It was in the year 1912 & 1913 Patiala Polo team at Calcutta tournament had a tough time because of chilly atmospheric conditions and non availability of good and young ponies. In the semi finals it was till the FIFTH CHUKKAR Patiala Polo team was leading by two goals against good old Seventeenth Lancers.
On the auspicious occasion of DUKE of CONNAUGHT ‘s visit the same aforementioned members of Patiala Polo Team appeared against the then princely state of Jodhpur.It was during Duke of Connaught’s Cup Tournament .The Patiala Polo team was successful in this sporting competition very easily.
It was in 1921 ,the aforementioned four members of Patiala Polo team participated in His Royal Highness ,The Prince of Wales sporting event in Delhi.
All the members of Patiala Polo team were in good condition except one Patiala Polo Player who unfortunately developed muscle pain in the right shoulder . This injury was caused to Patiala Polo Player just one week before the Polo match in Delhi . In comparison to Jodhpur,Alwar & Ratlam the Patiala ponies were second rate and an advanced in age .
The game of Polo commenced in 1921 at His Royal Highness,The Prince of Wales sporting fight in Delhi and it was from the throw of the ball till the last sound of the bugle.The best display of clear hitting & correct turning was exhibited by Patiala Polo players.
The grand exhibition of sticking man to man and the speed was of utmost pace,which was never recorded by the Indian Polo before.
In the opinion of the Polo experts till the Fifth Chukkar there was nothing against Patiala Polo team. It was when Patiala Polo players had finished their ponies and had to play with very low category of Ponies thus lost the game in the last half a minute of the Chukkar.
This was a high promising point for aggressive & progressive Polo team of erstwhile princely state of Jodhpur.
The writer is Patiala based Journalist