Few years ago, it seemed a forbidden dream, but hope of a new dawn always simmered amid the dark uncertainty in Odisha’s Maoist bastion- Malkangiri.
Fast forward to the present, life appears to be getting back on track to realize its true value in the territory once completely cut-off from the rest of the world under the Red terror’s gun law.
A video of little kids striding on horseback, racing their way in the cusp of a pristine landscape studded with lush mountains and valleys in the district famous for its natural abundance is a perfect picture that sums up the new narrative.
The visuals, ostensibly captured in a mobile camera, which have been breaking the internet after going viral on social media platforms shows children aged 8 to 12 years old racing horses with sheer delight. What is more surprising is the fact that the kids could be seen taming the animals with reins like true professionals even without any formal training.
And despite the lurking dangers, the ease and the dexterity of these little riders leaves a smile on the face of the spectator/viewer.
Once a forbidden land even for the government, the cut-off areas of Malkangiri has now earned a new identity as Swabhiman Anchal with the Odisha government’s developmental activities.
As per sources, horses used to be a primary source of transport for all in the far-flung regions of Malkangiri. But with the gradual ushering of development, security build up, availability of basic amenities and re-connectivity to the mainstream, horses have become pastime and leisure sports pets for the tribals, especially children unable to access proper education following the closure of schools.
Meanwhile, a section of netizens termed the riding of horses by kids a reckless act borne out of lack of awareness. However, others have urged the government to tap in the sporting potential in the promising talents and groom them for equestrian sports.