Rupanti, the stick-fighter

Touhidi Hasan, Kushtia | Update:

.Her eyes are fiece and her hands are nimble. She wields her stick with amazing dexterity against her male opponent, sometimes even using a sword. The spectators look on in awe.
Manjurin Sabrin Chowdhury Rupanti is indeed a warrior princess.
Rupanti displayed her stick-fighting skills at the Kushtia Government College grounds at a competition on 11 and 12 February.
The two-day event was organised by the Bangladesh Lathial Bahini, the only stick-fighter organisation in Bangladesh.
Rapanti was trained by Osman Sardar and Shukur Ali since she was seven years old.
Rupanti comes from a long line of stick-fighters.
Her grandfather Sirajul Islam of Kushtia's Majampur area, formed an organaisation of stick-fighters in 1933. He passed on the family legacy of stick-fighting to Rupanti's father Ratan Chowdhury.
Women in her family are pioneers in this sport too.
Her aunt Hasna Banu was the first female stick-fighter in Bangladesh.
Her cousins Shahina Sulatana, Sharmin Sultana, and sister Monjurin Afrin are trained stick-fighters too.
"My father did not have a son," said Rupanti, "He wanted his daughter to do what a son could. He believed a girl can protect herself."
Rupanti believes stick-fighting is not just a sport. It is a means for self defence too.
This is why this sport should be promoted, she contends.
.Training in this sport is inexpensive. All you need is to master the skill by practicing.
Rupanti barely misses a chance to take part in stick-fighting competitions.
She participated in stick-fighting events in the Sultan Mela in Narail, in Kushtia and in at the Pahela Baishakh celebrations at TSC.
Rupanti's husband Sabbir Hossain is a stick-fighter too.
Hasna Banu's son Abdullah Al Mamun, the general secretary of Bangladesh Lathial Bahini, said united efforts were needed to preserve this traditonal sport.
More women should be trained in stick-fighting like Rupanti, he said.

*The article originally published in Prothom Alo print edition is rewritten in English by Kohinur Khyum. 

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