on the popular game of Archery
The bow and arrow, the traditional Khasi weapons, are made in a very simple way. The bow is made from a strong and knotty piece of bamboo which is split. It is usually in proportion to the height of the owner, up to about one and a half metres long. For decoration and for ensuring a firm grip there is some string wound around the middle of it. At both ends the bow is notched to hold the string. The string is also of bamboo and smoked so that it may last longer. The arrows are made of thin bamboo – fifty to seventy centimetres long and ending in an iron head point. The upper end of the arrow is decorated with feathers, generally with the feathers of the Buluwa hawks.
A good deal of practice, energy and ability are required to reach the fixed target with the bow and arrow. The target is either a soft piece of wood, the trunk of the banana plant or a bundle of grass or straw. The distance from the target is fixed accordingly: generally it is fifty to hundred metres. Good archers hit their target with ease and accuracy even at a distance of 200 metres. The competitors stand in a row at equal distances from the target.
It is incredible what lively enthusiasm is aroused by this game among the otherwise cool and quiet Khasis. The leader of the party that is just about to shoot encourages and cheers his men by means of loud shouts to hit the target by all means. Each arrow hitting the target brings enormous jubilation. Whoever misses the target is the object of laughter and fun for the other party.
At the end of the competition, the arrows are taken out of the targets and counted. Each arrow has its special colour and its special marks. Each participant pays an anna as a contribution. The winning party gets all the money. But this amount is not distributed to the contestants, but kept aside and at the end of the year or after some period of time, when a sufficient amount is gathered, it is used for a solemn meal.