Swabi people keep tradition of Rehat alive by arranging unique oxen competition


SWABI: Although the traditional irrigation system of Rahat, a method to get water from wells by using oxen, is no longer in use in most parts of the country, people in some parts of Swabi have kept the tradition alive by arranging a unique Rahat competition every year.
People in Swabi have not kept oxen for fetching water from Rehat, but for a special competition. Under this competition, the farmers bring their oxen for a unique competition. Akhtar Ali, organiser of the competition, says the ox which makes more rounds with a wooden girder within eight minutes around the Rehat wins the competition.

“The referee of the competition counts the rounds of oxen. Once a referee blows his whistle, no one can interrupt him after that. A rope is fastened around the competition place for the oxen and now one is allowed to enter there. The referee blows the second whistle after eight minutes and the ox with more rounds is declared winner,” Akhtar Ali told TNN.

The oxen are given special food and training to prepare them for the competition. The special food includes clarified butter, almond, eggs, coconut, oil and Bengal gram etc. The oxen are trained for the competition by given them rounds of Rehat.

Akhtar Ali said the culture of Rehat for irrigation purpose has almost come to an end due to advent of modern machinery. However, he said he has decided to arrange such competitions to keep the tradition of Arhat alive.