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pigeons Origin Of The English Tippler
By Akhlaq Khan

From various writings and discussions one gets the impression that efforts have been made, and are still continued, to indicate the source of various unusual colors in English Tippler. Unfortunately writers of books and articles related to the subject had not much access to a great variety of Tumblers that existed in Europe in early nineties; and else where in the World at that time or much before. This is especially true in case of all Eastern countries.

It is now a well recognized fact that majority of Breeds and Strains of Domestic Pigeon (Columba livia domestica) got evolved in Central Asia and were introduced in other parts of the World; including Indo-Pakistan Sub-Continent and Europe, and that Tumbler was one of such domestic pets that man adopted to amuse himself. Unfortunately in the past lack of communication even between such developed parts of the World as Europe, specially amongst the fanciers of its various countries, resulted in lack of information that we now crave to acquire. This situation in case of Eastern countries is worst to say the least and is extremely disappointing as, except for very few writings, literature on Pigeon fancy is very conspicuous by its absence. What is most disappointing is the fact that whatever is available has been contributed mostly by the non-fancier. That lack of communication in the past is responsible for absence of reliable information on various Breeds and Strains of the Pigeon is corroborated by the fact that great treatise on Pigeon Breeds compiled by Col. Wendell M. Levi; and by others that I have come across, provide very little information about Pigeon Breeds of the East. Where as human interest in color and beauty of fancy Breeds and utility of the Racing Homers did contribute to the development of literature in the form of books and magazines in Europe; and later in the New World, in the East the situation is almost as bleak as it was before although we have started realizing that something must be done and very soon. However, the task before us is stupendous and is impossible to achieve single handedly and without the support of the Western fancier. It would also require years of hard and dedicated work and concerted combined efforts. This is because there are many more than two hundred Breeds and Strains of High and Low Fliers in Pakistan alone. In addition there are a number of other Breeds of Pigeons that most, if not all, Western fanciers may not even be familiar with as these have not been introduced to them properly. One such Type/Offshoot/Group of performing pigeons is called Toalli Wallay or Tukkri-Wallay that I am going to introduce to the fanciers members this short article.

I know there is tremendous amount of difference of opinion amongst the fanciers as to what is a Breed, a Strain, a Type a Line and a Family. From pictures appearing in Pigeon magazines I see that Strains/Line/Familis are named after the fanciers who have developed these English Tipplers like the Bodens, Hughes, Pilots and the like although in my opinion birds of all of these fanciers belong to a number of different Breeds/Strains of Tipplers and should be called by their Breed/Strain names. Where as I shall deal with this issue in some detail some time later, let me deal with the subject at hand; that is introduction of Indo-Pakistan Toalli orTukkri Wallay, with a view to suggest that various Breeds/Strains of Tumbler of past may have themselves contributed such feather colors as Yellow, Almond, Bronze, Indigo, etc. and various combinations suggested for the development of color patterns in English Tippler such as through a cross between an English Tippler and Cumulet and between Atnwerp might as well be a mere conjecture.

Toalli and Tukkri in Punjabi language means a group or a party and Toalli/Tukkri Wallay means Pigeons that fly as a group or flock. These are the proto type of the Sky Warriors of USA. The birds stick to the flock of a fancier very tightly following a leader. They fly very fast, especially those that get special herbal treatment, keeping very low and almost at roof or tree top level. However, they do rise above this height when Toallies/Tukkries of two fanciers merge together and form one flock. The twists and turns that a Toalli/Tukkri takes and beautiful colors that flash in the morning and evening sun is a sight to watch. This is mainly a winter sport and competitions are usually held in morning and evening sessions. A very conspicuous and consistent characteristic of these birds is that they hardly take a week to adopt a new loft and start flying there.

It would be interesting for Western fanciers to know that in 1946-47 I saw the above Breeds/Strains of birds (we grouped them as ďSheraziĒ although these consisted of more than a dozen BreedsStrains,) in Jallandar, India to fly at some height in short circles above their loft and some of them even sommersaulted like the Tumblers or some of our High Fliers. It is added that these Pigeons were totally different from my fatherís High Fliers in color and general appearance but resembled very closely to the Toalli or Tukkri Wallay and also to most of the colored English Tipplers of today. The Pigeons belonging to my fatherís uncle and our next door neighbor, an old gentleman, made 2 or 3 hours. However I am sure these were capable of making much more time if they were handled properly. I am also certain they must be in fashion elsewhere in India at that time.

Like High and Low-Fliers of Indo-Pakistan and of other countries, as well as like the English Tippler, Toalli Wallay also appear to have originated from the Tumbler through elimination of its acrobatic habit. These Pigeons are mostly medium in size and are of many Brees/Strains, each with definite and standard feather and eye color patterns. These are performing birds and unlike the other flying Breeds they donít possess long duration flight. Toalli/Tukkri Wallay as the words indicate are flown in groups/ flocks of 20 to 200, or even more, and are tested for their intelligence and stamina.

Each fancier releases his Toalli/Tukkri from his own loft and makes it go for 2, 3 or more miles within the city limits by brandishing hand flags and by whistling. Flocks of two fanciers merge to form one flock that flies between the two competing lofts for some time. These birds are kept hungry; sometime their hunger increased by purgatives. When the combined flock circles for some time above a fancierís loft he flags it down by his specific voice calls and by throwing a few feed grains in air, some even throw maize seed sewn in the form of garlands so that flying birds could see these. With his birds may land on his loft some of those belonging to his opponent. These are caught with a hand net with amazing dexterity. Birds that realize their mistake and take off just before or soon after landing on the strange loft are most amusing to watch as they depart for their own home. Such birds appear to give an impression by the way they fly that they had landed just to make a fool of their keeperís opponent. The bout lasts for about 15-30 minutes and the second one is started after only a few minutesí rest. A fancier catching birds in excess to his opponent at the end of the day, week or a month is the winner. Betting is placed on the number of birds caught which are not returned.

Since competitors in villages situated far apart may find it difficult to compete competitions are held in open fields away from centers of habitation. Each competitor has his own wooden box containing his Pigeons which is placed some 500 yards or more from that of his opponent. The two Tollies/Tukkries, each consisting of 50 to 100 birds, are released simultaneously and the game starts. Here again efforts are made to entice and catch maximum birds of oneís opponent.

This type of sport is said to have originated during Moghal period and was very popular amongst Nawabs, princelings and other elites of Luknow in India and spread to other parts of Sub-Continent. However it must have been prevalent in Iran and elsewhere in Central Asia before Moghals conquered India. According to my information it is still quite popular in Delhi and in other Urdu speaking areas in India. In Pakistan the sport was introduced first in Southern Districts of Punjab like Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Bahawal Pur, Bahawal Nagar, etc. but, at present, it is also quite popular in almost all parts of Pakistan; including Karachi, Quetta and Peshawer.

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