Fast and the anglicised Desi Donkey Derby

Fast and the anglicised Desi Donkey Derby
Daily TImes

KARACHI: 'Desi Donkey Derby', a part of Sindh Festival, succeeded to grab attention of a crowd including foreigners, held here at DHA Phase-VIII on Tuesday.
In the unique race of its kind, as many as 50 donkey jockeys from across the city particularly from Lyari participated with their great enthusiasm and excitement to bring their talent before the world.
The donkeys, usually a neglected part of our society, had interesting names, from Computer, Memory, Rambo to Bollywood inspired Raja. Special referees were also called to monitor all the races.
The race continued for four hours, in which some donkeys lost while some won.
Jockey No 18, who was disabled, proved himself and his ability in the field with his donkey by participating in the mega donkey race event.
Wearing white trousers and green helmets, each rider was assigned a number. The races were designed in such a way, that in the first round, the race was between five donkey carts; the winner qualified to the next round.
In the final round, a total of eight donkey carts took part and 'Uthal Bela,' a donkey scooped the first position while, 'Dumper' stood runners up and 'Rani Kaith' grabbed the third position.
The position holders were awarded with cash prize and shields.
Commenting over the race, a participant Raju said, "I am excited about participating in this event, as who would have thought that one day people would clap for this talent."
He was of the view that organising such programmes is just like providing an opportunity to poor donkey cart owners to explore their world.
"It is like Eid for us. We are so happy because today our animals bring respect for us," he said, adding that he provides a healthy meal to his donkey, three times a day, which is why his 'Raja' runs very fast.
Saleem said that earlier carts were of bike tyres and they were heavy to pull, but now cycle wheels are used, which are easy to pull, and enable the donkey to run much faster.
"The donkey I brought has lost the race, but it does not matter to me," he said, adding that participating in such mega events holds more value for him and his donkey 'Memory'. He added: "Memory will be the winner of 2015 race."
A visitor Aleem Qureshi said this was the most unique race he has witnessed so far in his life. "The race was funny as well as thrilling," he said, adding that it was difficult to decide earlier which donkey would beat all others, since all others looked healthier and quick. He was afraid before coming to the event that it would be boring, but it was completely contrary to his expectations. "I enjoyed the whole show with my other friends andsupported almost every donkey in every race," Qureshi concluded.

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