Aug 19, 2009
Polo in Northern Areas
The game Polo
(chaugan) described as “the game hockey played on horse back, polo being properly in the language of that region” the ball used in the game (yale and burnell on p.719). in the article on chicane and chicanery which as words are traceable to the game chaugan or horse- golf, polo is a game looked upon as hockey-on horse back while just above it is conceived as golf on horse back. However hockey is much faster game than golf. While deriving the word chicane from chaugan the problem has been created as to how chicanery can be associated with polo. This requires dealing with the evolution of the game which will be discussed after the etymology of chugan has been explained.
With regard to its etymology, a probable origin of chaugan would be an Indian, prakrit, word meaning four corners. Plats (in Urdu English dictionary) give this word as chugana, four-fold the name of the polo ground. This means that the game was invented in India where it was named after the playground. There is however another theory, which takes polo to Persia. The concise Oxford English dictionary while explaining the word chicane, states that in Greek polo is called tzoukanaiza which has been derived from the Persian word chaugan, meaning polo stick. Thus chaugan is a persain game and as word means polo. C .diem (p.126) has written a whole book on polo. He refers to and attempts showing that in Pehlavi polo chauvigan or chopgan. The latter word would be a variant of chobgan in which chob-stick but nevertheless would remain unknown.
However according to Diem, and to the Oxford English dictionary, (chaugan) has been the name in Balti, is for polo which makes it the ball game. The discrepancy is obvious. Coming to chicane it is a degenerated form of the word from which chaugan itself is derived. Diem transltes the Greek word for chaugan as tzykanion meaning polo and derives chicane from it. He writes that the Byzantine emperor, Theodosius 2 played polo at Constantinople about 401 A.D. Much earlier it was played in ancient Iran during the time of Darius, 522-486 B.C.
During the reign of king Khusrou Parvez 2 even his queen and her ladies played the game. Summarizing what has been discussed so far polo is an Indian game and the word chaugana four cornered has been modified as chaugan. Polo then was named after the polo ground. Another theory makes polo a Persian game with chaugan derived from chobagan, chob being the polo-stick, but Gan is left unexplained. At any rate as Persian word chaugan would be polo stick.
Diam gives following terms in Chinese. Ball (chiu), chhiu himself translated with an aspirated, polo-stick chhiu-chang.
The evolution of the game polo indicating the country of its birth, Polo has been rightly described by Yule and burn ell as hockey on horse back hence horse comes first to be considered. If we can conceive “Aspasthan” in Persian or horse land it would be magnolia. The Mongols have been nomads and being always on the move most of their time was spent on horseback. In Mongolia the horse was the unit of wealth. So, Mongol pick up lambs to provide more tasty (as booty) meet while the horse was still in full speed, because it is a small horse called pony. It was a dexterous performance which only the Mongols could claim to their credit.