Sagol Kangjei: BSEM Class 10 English (Course Book) notes

Sagol Kangjei
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Get summary, textbook solutions, questions, answers, notes, pdf, and extras to the chapter “Sagol Kangjei” which is a part of Class 10 English (Course Book) syllabus for students studying under BSEM. The notes should, however, only be seen as references only and changes should be made according to needs.

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‘Sagol Kangjei’ is an ancient game that originated in the Indian state of Manipur. The name literally means ‘horse and polo stick’ in the local Manipuri language. According to Manipuri mythology, the game was originally played by the local gods and deities that guarded the different directions.

An ancient Manipuri script called Kangjeirol traces the origins of Sagol Kangjei to the reign of King Kangba, several centuries before the birth of Christ. The royal chronicles mention that during the reign of King Nongda Lairen Pakhangba in 33 AD, the game was played with seven players per side to celebrate the king introducing his wife to the royal court.

However, it was during the reign of the famous King Khagemba between 1597-1652 AD that the game became more refined, with standardised rules and regulations. The number of players per team was fixed at seven, with defined positions like forwards, midfielders, defenders etc.

Apart from being just a popular sport, Sagol Kangjei was also used as a means of diplomacy, politics and for palace intrigues by the Manipuri royalty. While King Pakhangba used it to seal friendships, another King Labanya Chandra was killed during a match in 1781 due to palace conspiracies.

The Guinness Book of Records states that polo can be traced back to its Manipuri origins as ‘Sagol Kangjei’ around 3100 BC. The British officers learned the game from the Manipuri Maharaja Sir Chandrakirti Singh in 1859 in Assam. From there, it spread to England in 1869 and the first international match between England and the USA was played in 1886.

In its traditional Manipuri form, there was no defined field size, though in 1901 the British ruler Lord Curzon measured the Imphal polo ground to be 225 yards long and 110 yards wide. There were no goalposts initially, and a goal was scored when the ball crossed the width of the field.

The game had a unique saddle, dress code and equipment. Players wore white dhotis, jackets, turbans and leg guards made of leather. The polo stick was made of seasoned oak wood. The Manipuri ponies specially reared for the game were short in height but extremely sturdy.

Polo and the rearing of these special ponies was an integral part of the culture, warfare strategies and administrative hierarchy of the Manipuri kings. The cavalry troops composed of the ethnic Meitei community mounted on these ponies were one of the most formidable forces in northeast India and upper Burma.

Textbook solutions

Based on your reading complete the following

i) According to Kangjeirol, the game originated___________________________

Answer: During the reign of King Kangba of Manipur a few centuries before the birth of Christ. 

(ii) Apart from being a popular game Sagol Kangjei was used as a__________________ 

Answer: Subtle means in diplomacy, politics, and palace intrigues. 

(iii) The two Bengali words used in Sagol Kangjei are the products of the____________

Answer: Historical encounters of the Manipuri kings and princes with the Bengalis and Assamese living in Cachar. 

(iv) Govinda Chandra the Cachar king tried to take the favourite polo-pony of the Manipuri Prince Manjit which____________________________

Answer: Cost Govinda Chandra dearly, leading to Marjit’s vow for revenge and eventual defeat of Govinda Chandra. 

(v) The present Manipur territory of Jiribam_________________________ 

Answer: May be cited as an indirect product of Marjit’s pony–war. 

(vi) In olden days there were no goal posts and goals were scored__________________

Answer: When the ball crossed the end line of the width of the field. 

(vii) In modern days crossing the way of player is a______________________

Answer: Serious violation of rules, known as ‘Sagol-Tuppa’ in Manipuri.

Answer in a word, pharse or sentence each

i. How did king Nongda Lairen Pakhangba use Sagol Kangjei? 

Answer: He used the game on the occasion of introducing his consort Laisana to his royal friends. 

ii. Who was the royal victim of polo as a means of palace intrigue? 

Answer: King Labanya Chandra, who was killed in 1781 during a polo match, was the royal victim. 

iii. Who introduced polo to the British officers? 

Answer: The Maharaja of Manipur, Sir Chandrakirti Singh, introduced polo to the British Officers at Chacar Assam. 

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vii. Who is ‘Huntre hunba’? 

Answer: ‘Hantre Hunba’ is an official who throws up the ball in the air at the start of the game and after every score. 

viii. What is ‘sagol tuppa’? 

Answer: ‘Sagol Tuppa’ refers to the violation of crossing the ‘right of way’ of another player. 

ix. Which part of body of polo player protected by ‘khongyom’? 

Answer: ‘Khongyom’ protects the shins and calves of a polo player. 

x. What was the duty of ‘sagol senba hanjaba’? 

Answer: The duty of ‘Sagol Senba Hanjaba’ was the upkeep and official use of ponies in the administrative hierarchy.

Answer the following questions in about thirty words each

i. What does Manipuri Puya say about Sagol Kangjei? 

Answer: Manipuri Puya depicts Sagol Kangjei as an ancient game played by local gods like Marjing, Thangjing, etc. belonging to the Manipuri pantheon who guarded the eight directions

ii. What are king Khangemba’s contributions to the development of Sagol Kangjei? 

Answer: The game became more refined and popular with appropriate rules during King Khangemba’s reign from 1597 to 1652. Prior to his reign, the game lacked standardised rules and was played in a more informal manner. King Khangemba is credited with standardising the game to seven players on each side and formalising the rules,

iii. Apart from being a popular game, how was Sagol Kangjei a means for royalty?

Answer: Sagol Kangjei was more than a sport; it served as a diplomatic tool and a means for palace intrigues among the Manipuri royalty. It facilitated alliances, settled disputes, and even became a context for political maneuvers, illustrating its importance beyond mere entertainment, deeply intertwining with the sociopolitical fabric of the kingdom.

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vii. What does Lord Curzon do relative to Imphal Polo ground? 

Answer: Lord Curzon, during his visit to Manipur in 1901, measured the Imphal polo ground, known as the ‘Mapal Kangjeibung’, and found it to be 225 yards in length and 110 yards in breadth. This measurement by Curzon is significant as it provided a formal acknowledgment and documentation of the dimensions of one of the oldest polo grounds in the world.

viii. Describe ‘Pana Kangjei’? 

Answer: ‘Pana Kangjei’ was a form of Sagol Kangjei organized among six social units (‘panas’) in Manipur, promoting competition and camaraderie. Matches were played within superior and inferior groups, enhancing community engagement and sporting spirit​.

ix. What are the functions of a ‘Hantre Hunba’? 

Answer: The ‘Hantre Hunba’ officiates Sagol Kangjei matches, starting the game by throwing the ball into the air and announcing ‘Hantre’. They retreat quickly outside the field after the throw, ensuring the game proceeds smoothly. 

x. How did Manipuri horsemanship play a very important role in the expansion and consolidation of the kingdom of Manipur? 

Answer: Manipuri horsemanship, with its domesticated ponies, was crucial for the kingdom’s expansion and consolidation, providing a formidable cavalry force that was key in military campaigns and securing Manipur’s territories.

Derive the meaning of the words in bold, tick correct answers

(i) It is commonly accepted that the game became more refined and popular with appropriate rules during the reign of king Khagemba (1597-1652) 

(a) scientific (b) Suitable (c) Unsuitable 

Answer: B. Suitable 

(ii) Some of the western enthusiasts of the game hold the view that it was introduced into Manipur 

(a) persons who take interest (b) Critics (c) historians 

Answer: A. persons who take interest 

(iii) The above view is contradicted by the fact that Manipuris never referred to the game as ‘pulu’. 

(a) supported (b) proved wrong (c) uncertain 

Answer: B. proved wrong 

(iv) The principality of the Cachar kingdom was turned into a fertile ground for Meitei (Manipuri) infiltration and intrigue. 

(a) area suitable for cultivation (b) area suitable for political activities (c) area not suitable for people to stay 

Answer: B. area suitable for political activities 

(v) ………. but during the reign of king Khagemba (1597-1652) the number was standardised to seven on one side. 

(a) made reasonably fixed (b) made changeable (c) Depended on the players 

Answer: A. made reasonably fixed 

(vi) The expansion and consolidation of the kingdom depended on the use of the cavalry constituted by the Meitei people on horseback… 

(a) process of making stronger (b) process of making peace (c) process of expanding further 

Answer: A. process of making stronger


The Manipuri Pony used specially by polo-players for the game are on the verge of extinction. Write a letter to the Director of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry, Govt. of Manipur to take proper care for its breeding and rearing.


March 15, 2024

The Director,
Veterinary and Animal Husbandry,
Government of Manipur

Subject: Conservation of the Manipuri Pony


I write to express deep concern over the endangered status of the Manipuri Pony, integral to our state’s cultural heritage and the traditional game of Sagol Kangjei. This unique breed faces extinction without immediate action.

The decline of the Manipuri Pony not only represents a loss of biodiversity but also erodes our cultural identity. It is imperative that the Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Department undertake immediate measures for its preservation. This includes initiating specialized breeding programmes, establishing dedicated conservation areas, and enhancing public awareness about the importance of this breed.

Preserving the Manipuri Pony is crucial for maintaining our heritage and biodiversity. I urge your department to prioritize its conservation and implement effective strategies for its survival and proliferation.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.

Yours faithfully,
[Your Name]

Observe the following two words from the text

(a) consort
(b) trace

These two words have two meanings each:

i. consort : be a husband or wife/to spend time together
ii. trace : a mark or a sign/to find or discover

Now, use dictionary to find the different meanings of the following words:

blush __________
bolt __________
calm __________
can __________
face __________
lean __________
match __________
object __________
offer __________

Answer: Blush:

To show shyness, embarrassment, or shame by becoming red in the face.
A reddish color applied to the cheeks as a cosmetic.


To move suddenly or to flee.
A fastener used with a nut for connecting pieces of material.


Not showing or feeling nervousness, anger, or other strong emotions; tranquil.
To make tranquil or quiet, especially after a state of disturbance.


To be able to.
A container for holding liquids or solids.


The front part of a person’s head, from the forehead to the chin.
To confront and deal with or accept.


To incline, bend, or rest on something for support.
Thin and healthy; without much fat.


A contest in which people or teams compete against each other.
One item that corresponds to another in some way.


A material thing that can be seen and touched.
To express disapproval or opposition.


To present something for someone to accept or reject as so desired.
An expression of readiness to do or give something if desired.

Sagol Kangjei was not the only game that was played in ancient Manipur. Write the names of a few games that were played in ancient Manipur and describe how they were played.

Answer: Mukna: Mukna is a traditional form of wrestling, deeply rooted in Manipuri culture. It’s not just a test of strength but also technique, with wrestlers employing various holds and maneuvers to bring their opponent to the ground. The sport is often accompanied by music and is played during festivals, reflecting its cultural significance.

Yubi Lakpi: Often described as Manipuri rugby or football, Yubi Lakpi is a traditional game played with a coconut, which represents the “Yubi” (ball). The objective is to run with the coconut and touch a target, usually a marker or a post, at the opponent’s end while avoiding tackles. Unlike modern rugby, the use of coconut adds a unique challenge, as it requires players to maintain control over an unpredictable object.

Thang-Ta: While more of a martial art than a game, Thang-Ta (the art of the sword and spear) is a significant part of Manipur’s ancient sports culture. It involves various techniques of using swords, spears, and even bare hands. Thang-Ta showcases a blend of physical agility, technique, and spiritual discipline, often demonstrated during cultural festivals.

Kang: Similar to lawn bowls or boules, Kang is played with a small flat disc (the kang) which players slide across the ground to hit a target ball. Points are scored based on the proximity of the kang to the target. The game is traditionally played indoors and involves a high level of skill and precision.

Hiyang Tannaba: Also known as boat racing, Hiyang Tannaba is celebrated during the festival of Heikru Hidongba in a narrow boat (Hiyang Hiren). Teams row these long, slender boats in races that are as much about speed and coordination as they are about ceremonial significance and invoking blessings.

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