Baramulla: The Dagger division of the Indian Army, along with the Shah Zoor Rab Rakha Pigeon Group, on Sunday, organised a pigeon flying competition in Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla district to promote village games and sportsmanship among people of the Valley.
About 20 participants took part in the competition, also known as Kotra Baazi, which consisted of two segments: Pigeon Racing that determined the winner based on the maximum flight time of the bird and Healthy Pigeon that awarded the healthiest breed.
Several of the participants were seasoned pigeon rearers, including Zaheer Nisar, who secured the third prize.
“I am enthusiastic about competitive pigeon flying and have been honing this art for a long time. I would like to extend my gratitude to the Indian Army for supporting this event and providing a platform for people like myself,” Nisar told ANI.
Abid Salaam, co-organiser of the event said that the flying pigeons symbolise peace, and hoped that the district would come to be known for peace and pigeon-flying.
“The art of Kotra Baazi used to be common earlier but has started to fizzle out. We decided to host the event after we saw that there were few avenues for people who were passionate about the sport. We are glad to have the support of the Indian army and the Baramulla district administration,” Salaam said.
He added, “I hope that his symbol of peace may fly across the country and spread the message to everyone.”
According to Bilal War, the judge of the competition, enthusiasts earlier used to pool money to organise such competitions. With the recent support of the Indian Army, many more participants turned up.
“I have been rearing pigeons for the last 18 years. This is the first time I have seen such an event supported by the government. We used to earlier pool together Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 and organise the competition on a smaller scale. I am glad that the Army has taken this initiative to provide a platform for young pigeon breeders,” War said.
He added that pigeon rearing was not only a hobby but could also be taken up as a means of livelihood, with a pair of birds being sold at Rs 50,000.
Manzoor Ahmad, a local resident who came to watch the event said, “When I heard there is going to be a pigeon flying competition, I came here running as I have been an enthusiast for the last couple of years. Through today’s programme, I came to know that it involves a lot of technicalities and formalities. I was astounded to see that people have so much knowledge about the various breeds. I am grateful to the organisers for the event and I request them to organise more events to inspire young people.”