English British Officers Match Fixing in Polo Match against Indian Officers

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MATCH FIXING.

A new officer had joined the regiment and since he was an English peer or viscount or something of that sort,he was given the adjutant's chair by the Commandant.

One day he was heard shouting the Rissaldar Major's(RM's) name from his office desk and he probably expected the Rissaldar Major to come running to him,

"Mansa Ram,Mansa Ram.Where the hell is this fellow Mansa Ram."he called out and started puffing at his pipe.

It sounded like he was calling out for someone called Man's Rum.He was new to India and although it was October,he was perspiring and his khakhi tunic was as wet as it would be on a dhobi's slab.

Down the verandah,the Rissaldar Major of the 14th Bengal Lancers(Murray's Jat Lancers) was talking to the head clerk and heard his name being called by the new adjutant.He continued speaking to the other VCO and ignored the calls until after a few minutes,a sowar came and informed the Rissaldar Major that the adjutant sahib wanted to see him.

The Rissaldar Major  got up and went to the adjutants' office.

"Didn't you hear me,I was calling out for you." the new officer said not without irritation.

"No I didn't." replied the Rissaldar Major.

"But I clearly called out your name, Mansa Ram several times." said the new officer lifting up the page on which he had noted down the names and appointments of all the Indian VCOs(Viceroys commissioned officers) of the regiment.

"But sahib my name is not Mansa Ram." replied the Rissaldar Major.

Now it was the new officer's turn to see be riled.

"What nonsense are you talking?Your name is Mansa Ram." he said animated with irritation.

"Sahib there are many men by the name of Mansa Ram in the regiment.One is a cook and one is a Daffadar and then there are some others.My name is Risaldar Major Mansa Ram Sahib."

The officer gave the VCO a hard malevolent stare and then smiled.There is saying that goes,beware of the horns of a bull,the heels of a horse and the smile of an Englishman.The adjutant spoke,

"The Viceroy is visiting our station shortly.We have planned a Polo match in his honour.One side will be British officers and other team will be of Indian VCOs and men who play Polo.The whole station will be there to watch."

That evening in the mess,the blond English peer asked other officers.

"How is the Indian Polo string?"

"They are all right but they have poor horses,they don't stand a chance against the Officer's team.And they have only one formidable player.If he is checked,then the match will be ours."

As days passed and the fateful day arrived and the Viceroy and Vicerene came to Risalpur.There were parades,receptions and dinners and hunts and balls.Then came the day of the Polo Match.The commandant called the captain of the Indians and whispered something to him.The Indian seemed to have been stung by a wasp but he nodded,saluted and left quietly.

The fanfare sounded and the viceregal carriage with clattering and chain jangling sounds,the trotting outriders came to a halt and the station commander received the Viceroy.The Viceroy went and threw the ball between the lined up ponies and polo players.It was a beautiful day and a mild cool breeze blew down from the hills of the frontier.By the end of the third chukker(round),the English team was several goals up and the adjutant,who was an English peer and a viscount asserted the white man's supremacy and rough housed most of the Indian players.Then he came riding out of the blue and bumped the Risaldar Major's horse so hard that the Indian's horse staggered and sank on the ground and Indian captain fell and his turban fell off his head.Before the umpire could blow the whistle the time keeper blew the bugle and the third chukker came to an end.The old Risaldar picked up his turban and led his horse off the field by the reins,walking alongside it.At the other end,an English major who was playing rode up to the English viscount and said,

"Why did you do that? It was  uncalled for and a bad foul on your part.There was no need for that.We are easily winning the match and now you go and commit an unpardonable foul on the senior most Indian player.You clearly don't know his nature and you don't know your own regiment."

The young Englishman just shrugged his shoulders,"It's polo and such things happen and my horse just went and collided into his horse before I could do anything."

At the Indian end of the Polo field,Risaldar Major Mansa Ram said to his syce Ram Kishen,

"Angrez ki chokkri hamen polo khelna sikha rahi hai.Toofan ko lagao.(The English girl is teaching us how to play polo.Saddle up Toofan.)

When the bugle blew for the fourth chukker and the teams lined up in front of the Viceroy's pavillion,the RM Mansa Ram  was seen sitting on his huge polo pony Toofan."

The Indian team rammed home many goals and the adjutant didn't come near the Risaldar Major after he got the first taste of his own medicine.The game turned and the Indians won the match.There was a hushed silence and the Viceroy got up and quietly left.Later on the Commandant confronted the Risaldar Major,

"RM sahib I had asked you to lose the match.Then what happened to you in the fourth chukker.You played very well but that was not part of the plan."

"Sahib we were losing the match as ordered by you.But young sahib came and fouled me badly and when I was on the ground without my turban,he laughed at me.I had agreed to lose the match but not my honour.Now you may do whatever you deem fit."


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Footnote- Rissaldar Major Mansa Ram Ahlawat,IOM of 14 Murray's Jat Lancers lost 2 of his real brothers in the first world war in Iraq.He was a seeded polo player and played in his regiments A string.14 Bengal Lancers had one of the best polo teams in India.Rissaldar Major Mansa Ram of my village Gocchi died in 1962.This story was related to me by my father.RM Mansa Ram used to keep 2 buffalo's while in service so that the supply of good fresh milk was always there and anyone who came to visit him could be offered milk to drink.It seems tea was not much preferred in those days.

Father also said that the English officer who was the adjutant was posted out of 14 Murray's to some other regiment after this incident as it was deemed that he was unfit to serve with 14 th Murray's Lancers.

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