Makha or mokha (Pakistan)
Name of sport (game)
Name in native language
Place of practice (continent, state, nation)
Traditional Pashtun archery. Sport is practiced mainly in the Yousafzai tribe - Buner, Swabi and Mardan regions and in some parts of Haripur in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Makha's equipment consists of a long arrow (gashash in pashto) and a long bow (leenda). The tip of the arrow is not sharp, but has a flat, round piece of metal attached (tubray).
Once, the bow was a weapon of war. However, after the invention of modern weapons, Makha became a sport, played mainly in the Yousafzai tribe. People who emigrated from their regions to Karachi in the 1960s continued to practice this sport by regularly organizing tournaments.
The rules of the game are simple: archers play in teams of 12-10 players (and two in reserve), trying to hit a small white wooden target, called takai in pashto, located 32 feet from the archer. A round ring secured with fresh clay surrounds the target. Each team proposes a senior member of the community as a referee. The referee changes each round.
Each player has his arrow and bow. They shoot twice in each round, and the team with the most accurate shots advance to the next round of the tournament.
Competitors usually buy arrows and bows from the Jandol area of Dir, where the horns of Markhor, a wild goat from mountain forests, are used. Some also buy arrows and bows at Marghoz in Swabi.
Over time and the popularity of other sports, this centuries-old traditional Pashtun sport disappears. But the Yousafzai tribes try to keep him alive, want to revive and promote Makha by organizing regular tournaments.
During the tournament, the organizers also invite dhol musicians who, after a shot in the target, beat their instrument rhythmically and are properly supported by the sounds of bajajy (horns) and dance lovers. Also in some tournaments, such as Karachi, Pashto poets recite their poetry. Makha tournaments are usually organized in spring or after wheat harvest, when people have relatively more time.