Sports for FnF
Sumaiya Ahsan Bushra
With summer comes scorching heat and fresh cart fruits, with monsoon comes rain, flowers and water borne diseases. When evenings start getting chilly, the steam from bhapa pithas fog the air and in midst of all this, a shuttlecock is seen flying high in the space, we know winter has arrived. Badminton, a popular winter sport is played by people from all walks of life and is particularly enjoyed by young people, with exception to those oldies whose hearts have always flamed with the spirit of youth.
History has given a completely different record of this winter sport badminton. In generations before ours in this part of the world, the sport was much enjoyed in huge outdoor spaces even though internationally it is an indoor sport. Since, the game originated in the Indian sub-continent under the British India empire, it was a form of entertainment for both English men and women of the era to pass their leisure time. Nevertheless, badminton was not a relatively new sport but rather a modification of the existing English game known as the battledore and shuttlecock.
PHOTO: SAMWAN ROB
Enough said, about the roots of this beautiful game, the game has vastly changed over the years. In this part of the world, with the large number of uncontrolled population, floating migration and urbanisation, this sport is not longer played outdoors. With a severe lack in space and houses turned into apartments, the youth of today barely have any space for themselves to enjoy this game in chilly evenings outdoors. But, this does not stop them from enjoying this sport. Rubayet Orko, a medical student on this note says, “I got lucky that I have space in my garage to play badminton. However, I have friends, who do not have a house like mine nor a neighbourhood friendly enough to make room for them. So, every winter, they ask all the members of their apartment complex to chip in any amount from 20-100 takas, so that they can arrange for the all the equipments needed for badminton. They buy nets, shuttlecocks, rackets, etc and we set it up in the roof!”
In addition, Humaira, a student of Architecture states, “It is truly sad that I cannot play badminton outdoors anymore. My grandparents used to have a house in Dhanmondi before with a huge lawn and my cousins and I had the best time playing badminton back in those days. But now the house has transformed into an investment bank in the form of small flats which does not benefit me in any way. It is not possible for me to go to areas like road eight, where all the boys play badminton.”
Students enjoying a night of badminton. PHOTO: SAMWAN ROB
Urbanisation has formed a barrier for a lot of people but at the same time, people have turned it around and given badminton a new twist. This has not only enabled young students to play the sports indoor but also elderly aunties and uncles who enjoy the sport immensely which they would not if a public space was given to them. This new form of sport has given a platform for elder aunties to form small groups and play during evenings when the children are studying. Rangan, an SSC candidate expresses, “Winter sports like badminton are the best. It is all gender inclusive and there is no gender discrimination. At times, when we play, my female cousins, aunts, my mom, everyone joins in with a racket.”
Badminton, in general is a healthy sport as it can help one burn a significant amount of carbohydrate. Also, it is a cost friendly sport. Rangan says, “A football would cost 400-500 takas, but a racket and shuttlecock would cost a maximum of 200 takas. Also, badminton is like an addiction but it is a good addiction unlike sitting at home and hogging the television or computer screen, playing games. Those are hazardous for health but badminton can help a fat person become slim in three months of winter!”
On the contrary, a lot of private universities have taken a different initiative. Universities like Independent University of Bangladesh (IUB) and North South University (NSU), have their own campuses. The students of such universities take incentives to play badminton in the wide open empty areas within the campus. The environment is healthy because the students are all from the university and chances of external problems are very unlikely.