Ruponti: Carrying the torch of lathi-khela

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Staff Reporter:

Despite being a woman Monjurin Sabrin Chowdhury Ruponti has excelled as a ‘lathiyal’ – stick player- and earned a reputation by performing in various shows in the district town.

Her reputation as a lathiyal spread in 2016. In January that year country’s lone organisation of The lathiyals, Bangladesh Lathiyal Bahini, organised a two-day festival at Kushtia Government College.

Besides Kushtia, 500 lathials of 25 teams from various districts including Narail, Jhenaidah, Pabna, Natore, Meherpur, Chuadanga and Jashore participated in the festival.

These teams included male as well as women members. Ruponti played in the ‘lathikhela’ at Kushtia Government College Ground.

She performed lathi-khela (stick game) thrice along with her father at Narail Sultan Mela.

Besides, she also performed at Baishakhi fair at Dhaka University’s TSC. She never missed any stick game in Kushtia.

Resident of Mojompur area of Kushtia town, Sirajul Islam Chowdhury is renowned as the best lathiyal and ‘lathikhela’ organiser of the area. He formed the structure of an organisation in 1933 to organize the stick players. Sirajul Islam Chowdhury is the grandfather of Ruponti.

The organisation has been named as ‘Bangladesh Lathiyal Bahini’. His family is still known as lathiyal family. The road on which their house stands is named after Sirajul Islam Chowdhury.

Talking to UNB Ruponti  Sabrin said, “My father had no son and he wanted that the daughters would work as sons and protect themselves.”

“ I learned lathi-khela from my trainer Osman Sardar who directly learned the techniques of the game from my grandfather.As my grandfather was not alive Osman Sarder wanted me to learn the techniques of my grandfather from him.”

Ruponti’s father Ratan Chowdhury died before her SSC examination and after passing the SSC exam she was married to cousin Sabbir Hassan. However, Ruponti continued her education side-by-side with stick playing. She is studying business administration at a private university in Dhaka.

Her husband Sabbir Chowdhury is also a lathiyal and a teacher at a private university.

At present, all the members of her family including female members are involved with stick playing. Sabrin’s paternal aunt Hasna Banu is the country’s first female lathiyal while cousins Shahin Sultana and Sharmin Sultana are also in the same line.
unb

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