Nearly a year after CRPF personnel crossed Abujhmaad,the vast liberated zone of the Maoists,the Central forces recently organised a football tournament Abhujmaad Cup in Bastar.
The tournament,significant in both symbolic and actual terms,saw 120 teams participating 20 each from the six southern districts of Bastar. Every team comprised 18 tribals as the CRPF dedicated the tournament to the memory of legendary tribal hero Gunda Dhur.
A near-mythical figure in Bastar,Gunda Dhur had revolted against the British in 1910. Now known as the Bhumkaal Rebellion,the revolt is part of Bastar folklore as Maoists later came to celebrate Bhumkal Divas to emphasise their fight against security forces. We deliberately chose Gunda Dhur. He is a national hero,someone with whom tribals connect. Maoists have misappropriated him,we wanted to restore his national character, CRPF Inspector General,Raipur,Zulfikar Hussain said.
Also crucial is the attempt to connect with tribals,he said,expressing satisfaction at the response. Hundreds of youths turned up. Though we had 120 teams,many players were left in waiting. Next year,we will increase the number of teams, he said. We are soon conducting a recruitment drive in Bastar and hope many of them will turn up, he said.
The tournaments final was a homecoming as a team of Narayanpur,a district that has a major portion of Maad,won the Abujhmaad Cup. They received a cash award of Rs 50,000,and the Gunda Dhur trophy.