BANGALORE: Bangalore is all set to experience a grand Republic Day parade at the Manekshaw Parade Ground on Thursday. The highlight of the parade is the traditional Indian gymnastics — Malkhamb, to be performed by soldiers of the Maratha Light Infantry Regiment at Belgaum, under Brigadier Commandant C K Ramesh.
Around 30 young soldiers in the age group 19-20 years will perform dare-devil stunts on two Malkhamb poles. The soldiers are training under the supervision of Subhedar Padmanabha T G and Naik Sachin Ranawre.
Subhedar Padmanabha T G told City Express, “Malkhamb is part of our physical training curriculum but which is also performed for cultural programmes.” However, it is to be noted that Malkhamb is a speciality of this
On the selection process, Naik Sachin Ranawre, said, “There is no strict procedure in the selection process. Everyone gets a chance to participate in these events. We are invited to perform at several places, so the soldiers are divided accordingly. Another team comprising 45 members are performing at Andaman and Nicobar Islands on the eve of our Republic Day.”
The Maratha regiment has been practicing for the last three days, morning and evening. Subhedar Padmanabha T G added, “In the morning, we reach the ground at 8.30 am. However, the practice begins at 11 am and continues to 12 noon due to the programme line up. An hour in the evening, we rehearse again at 4 pm.”
The performance will see a traditional salute starting the programme followed by pawan chakki or windmill which will be a sinuous representation of the apparatus by human bodies entwined in fine balance, followed by many other stunts.
The young soldiers are quite upbeat about their performance on Republic Day. Subhedar Padmanabha T G adds, “The other day when our practise session was over, the boys did not want to leave the venue and kept sitting near the poles. This is the level of enthusiasm among them with respect to their performance .”
Malkhamb is a traditional sport tracing its origin to the state of Maharashtra in which a gymnast performs feats with a vertical pole made of teak wood. It was first brought to public attention between 1800 and 1810 by Balambhatta Dada Deodhar, the fitness instructor of Peshwa Bajirao II during the reign of the Peshwas.