Gorkha jawans and their family members assemble to witness the greased pole event at the Anand Mela in Ranchi on Monday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
It was all fun and little work for the men in uniform from the Indian Reserve Battalion and Jharkhand Armed Police on Monday.
The jawans treaded on slippery grounds, er climbed a slippery pole, on the last day of Anand Mela at the JAP-I grounds in Ranchi on Monday trying to retrieve a red flag from a height of 18ft as a part of a competition.
The event, which started around 4pm, saw enthusiastic participation from more than 500 gorkha jawans and their families all of who assembled in a circle near the centrally placed pole to test their climbing skills.
The jawans, divided themselves into three teams for the event. While Team A comprised six constables of Jharkhand Armed Police who had turned up for a special training course for their promotion to the post of hawildars, Team B consisted six jawans of six constables of the Indian Reserve Battalion. Team C was made up of three members of the Jharkhand Armed Police band.
In the first team, one member at a time was given five minutes to get to the top of the pole and retrieve the red flag by maintaining their grip on a thick layer of grease that made climbing difficult. The participants in this round managed a meagre five-foot climb before slipping.
The second round was a cumulative attempt one, wherein two members of each team were allowed to make a joint effort on the pole. However, none of the teams managed to go beyond a 12-feets on the pole during this round.
The last round saw three members of each team jointly attempting the pole, slithering up, slipping down but still keeping at it.
At the end of the event the Indian Reserve Battalion team was the only one that managed to get down the flag, much to the joy of the audience.
The winning team — Vijay Bhusan Minz, Sadanand Singh, Anil Oroan, Sartaj Khan, Amit Minz and Sudhir Kumar Razak — was awarded a goat and four bottles of rum by JAP-I commandant Narendra Kumar Singh, who graced the event.
“This is the first time that I got an opportunity to witness the pole climbing event. It was interesting and I enjoyed a lot. I could never have imagined that a friction-less pole could be climbed,” he told The Telegraph with a smile.