| Children play ‘Maoist-police’ in the forests of Lakhisarai district. Picture by Amit Kumar |
Familiar with code words of Maoists and police, children in eastern Bihar districts are using them while playing the traditional chor-police (hide-and-seek) game.
Things have gone to such a passé that the children have rephrased the game and are now calling it “Maoist-police”.
“In our times, when we took our cattle for grazing near the forest, we used to play chor-police. Two to three children played the role of chors (thieves) and others that of the police chasing the former,” said a villager in Lakhisarai.
He added: “Now, children play Maoist-police game and code languages used by them can come as a surprise to any outsider.”
Children, between the age of eight and 13 years, still take cattle out for grazing in these parts of the state. But they play Maoist-police in leisure time.
One can spot the new-age players at the foothills of Kajra, infamous for Maoist activities. The children come with the cattle for grazing in the early morning and leave before sunset. In between, they play the game.
A social worker based in Munger shared his recent experience with some children. “I visited a hamlet under Dharhara block in the district for a work related to a watershed project. In the evening, I was waiting for some members of the watershed committee when I found some children playing.”
He added: “Five-six children enacted the Maoists and the others preferred to be from police. I was thrilled to hear the conversation between the two groups and had an initial impression that the children were performing a play. When asked, their guardians blamed the situation and said the frequent rebel activities in the forest had made the children aware of Maoists and the police. The children have adopted the reality.”
He further narrated the lingo of the children while they were at play.
The activist said: “I heard a girl asking a boy while playing Maoist-police ‘Bhaago baraat agaya hai. Kya saath mein buddha sher bhi hai? Arey masterji maine bola tha na ki road mein pencil gaar do? (Let’s move fast, the marriage party has arrived. Is the old tiger with the party? I had told you masterji to dig a pencil in the road).’”
A senior police officer in Jamui said: “In Naxalite parlance, baraat means the police party, buddha sher is the special auxiliary police, pencil is landmine detonator.”