Thursday, December 1, 2016

Most Transparent and Random Daily Lottery Draw Ever Seen

This post is culled out of a bigger blog post about our Assam - Meghlaya Trip which soon will be posted on this blog in day wise parts.

 During our recent visit to Meghalaya, we went to a unique fully transparent Meghalaya government lottery daily draw. This was something very similar to numbers that were taken out once upon a time by “Matka” operators except that "Matka" numbers were opaque and could be manipulated (so I think) where as in this draw they are very transparent (though there are rumors of rigging but it looks very difficult, how does one tell a arrow to hit or not to hit). This is daily lottery again similar to Matka. How does it operate? See the details bellow.

All over Meghalaya, there are authorized stalls accepting bets for first round numbers and second round numbers (set of two numbers of two digits each) of this daily lottery. So ones sees things like 25 - 59 Written on these stalls all over Shillong and Meghalaya. One wonders as to what are these numbers and unless one asks the stall owner it is not possible to know. Obviously, the bet is on predicting these two set of numbers for that day's draw that is taken out not through usual methods but by a unique and out of the world method.

Two rounds of draws are taken out daily by a set of over 30 archers (belonging to some kind of local archery clubs)  shooting 30 arrows each on a single cylindrical "Chatai" (Mat) target mounted on a pole, placed at equidistant from each of them (as they sit in semi arch facing the target). Based on season, the draw time is at 1530 (first round) and 1600 (second round) in winter or 1600 and 1630 in summer.

Ready to Shoot Arrows on the Target Copyright - Pranay Datar
 It operates like this. The archers shoot the arrows based on the command of the conductor of the draw (small group of a club seems to fires arrows  on each specific command for that group to fire). When all arrows are fired, the target looks like a beehive full of bees.

Target Full of Arrow at end of  Shooting - Copyright - Pranay Datar
As soon as shooting of arrows finishes in a three minute round, all the archers rush to pick up the arrows that have missed the target and spectators also go along to make sure that the archers pick up only fallen arrows.

Sorting out Fallen Arrows - Copyright - Pranay Datar
Once that is done and the archers return after collecting missed arrows, the spectators take over the target area and pluck all the arrows which have found the target and hand over these arrows to a group of (government) officials who then start the process of counting, by making bunches club wise of all these arrows as a first step in the process, in full public view.

Spectators on Job, Plucking out Arrows from Target - Copyright - Pranay Datar

Full Public Participation in Pulling Out Arrows - Copyright - Pranay Datar

Then the counting starts. First official makes sets of five arrows and gives it to second official. Second person holds the bunch till he has two of them. He verifies that he has ten arrows (two bunches) in his hand and gives those ten arrows to third person. He re-verifies that he has got ten arrows from previous man and then gives these arrows to fourth and final man who sets these arrows in a stand having grids, each slot taking a bunch of ten arrows each, with full transparency. In fact the public also counts number of arrows passively.

Bunch Making of Arrows found on Target and counting lot of 5 Arrows - Copyright - Pranay Datar

Ten Arrows each arranged in Slots at Final Stage of Counting

Final Full Grid of All the Arrows Plucked out of Target - copyright - Pranay Datar

Finally, a number emerges (generally in hundreds) at the end of the counting (when we witnessed it, the number of arrows shot and found the target came out to be 827). While this number is ceremoniously announced by officials in front of Public, in the final result the Hundredth  place digit is just dropped and only ten and unit place digits become the two numbers of first round draw. 

The final act. The last arrows are thrown back in to the arena.
Announcement of Final result - The arrows in the Unit place are thrown in the View of  Public - Photo courtesy - 

The Shillong archery lottery -

Similar process is followed for second round draw of the day. Isn’t it a unique, participative and transparent draw of a lottery, completely independent based on only chance. It was fun to watch the whole process but watching so many archers rapidly shooting arrows on a single target is a bigger fun. This is a “not to miss” event in Shillong for all visitors.

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