Previously, I started talking about some of the oldest sports in Indian culture, some of which began as means of battle and combat. In this section, I’m going to tell you more about casual sports that are played today in India.
The most common games which are played today are all recreational. However, many of them have evolved into competitive sports, and are usually played in schools. Some of these are “Kabaddi” and “Kho Kho”. “Kabaddi” is one of the most popular and oldest games in India. Two teams are formed, and one team member has to go into the other team’s half of the court, touch one of the players and then make it back to his or her side without getting caught, all while chanting “kabaddi” under their breath. A sport which requires intense skill, power and stamina, it was used during pre-historic times when man learned how to defend themselves against animals, or how to attack weaker animals. “Kho Kho” is a run and touch game, which involves the team of chasers trying to tag the defenders who have to grab their flag and make it back to safety. These are two of the traditional sports which have gained immense popularity and have even made their way to national fame.
Other games which are popular today are carom, kite flying, spinning tops, marbles or “Kancha”, “Gilli Danda’, “Kith Kith”, “Pachisi” and “Satoliya”. In “Gilli Danda”, the player uses the Danda to flip the Gilli into the air, and hit it as far as possible. “Pachisi” is almost exactly the same as Ludo, and was played even in the Mughal era. “Kith Kith” is basically hopscotch. “Satoliya” involves stacking seven stones on top of each other in decreasing size. The attacking team hits the pile with a ball, and has to rearrange all the stones before the defending team gets them all out. To get them out, they have to be hit with the ball.
While India doesn’t have a national game, the entire country is probably most patriotic when it comes to supporting its cricket teams. Cricket fever runs high in almost every Indian’s blood, and even if you’re not extremely interested in the game, it is impossible not to get sucked into the contagious atmosphere when the season begins. Actually, every season is cricket season, with the game being played at each and every corner of India. Win or lose, festivities run late into the night, and every Indian has a deep sense of pride when it comes to the game they love the most.
Games and sports in India make up a large chunk of one’s identity. People of all ages play the games they grew up with, and more and more of them are beginning to show an increased interest in sports which had become all but extinct. Some of them even attract foreigners to watch them – such is their popularity! – and the unmistakable fanfare which accompanies everything in India makes them all the more enjoyable to watch. India displays its diversity even in sports, and has proudly retained its original athletic soul along, with simultaneously accomplishing great feats in modern sports.
My name is Nikki and I currently study in Singapore. I come from Bangalore, India while my parents come from two different Indian states, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, and I have lived in various cities like Delhi and Bombay. Other than my academics, I have been learning Bharatanatyam, which is a form of classical Indian dance, for the past 10 years now. I also love to read and am a volunteer at the Singapore National Library. I have a great attraction towards these projects due to my passion to help people, and I find that these make me a more compassionate person, as well as help me to see the reality of the world.